Remember a few months back, when I was visited by Zoe Rachel Usherwood, Foreign Affairs Producer for Sky News in the U.K.? Well, whether you remember or not, it was right after the primaries, when there had been a lot of international attention focused on South Carolina. Well, today the same international program brought Desirée Jaimovich by the office.
Desirée is a writer and editor for the Buenos Aires Herald, an English-language publication. Argentina is, as you probably know, one of the more cosmopolitan of South American countries, a lot of people having ethnic roots from across Europe.
We talked about a number of things. She asked in particular about a recent story that recently led our front page, "S.C. first in on-job deaths of Hispanics." I told her that illegal immigration was an extremely hot issue in this country, but that unfortunately, while our lawmakers will demagogue no end about illegality, there is little talk among our politicians about the dangerous conditions that illegals often work in — and there should be.
She of course asked WHY illegal immigration was such a hot issue, and I somewhat glibly told her that it was a matter of xenophobia. A little later, though, I told her not to go by me, that I don’t understand and never have understood the roots of passion over illegal immigration. (And don’t explain to me for the millionth time that it’s because it’s illegal; as I indicated back here, maybe I’ll believe that’s core of it when folks get as stirred up about speeding on the highway.)
Anyway, we had a nice visit. I never did practice my Spanish on her though, because it embarrasses me. When I was a kid living in Ecuador, I was more or less as fluent in Spanish as English. But I’ve been back in this country since 1965, which is a long time. Whenever I try to speak it now, it’s such a struggle that I find it distressing.