Ruben  Navarrette Jr.,

It's the others -- the poor, uneducated, dark-skinned members of the working class -- who have to flee to the United States to feed their families. Those are the only Mexicans that most Americans will ever see, waiting tables and trimming hedges and waiting on street corners for day-labor jobs -- hired, perhaps, by some of the same people who decry illegal immigration.

Many Americans look down on that brand of Mexican, and they probably never think about the fact that, across the border, there's another kind of Mexican -- educated, refined and privileged -- who actually looks down on Americans. After all, the only Americans many of them will ever know are the rude tourists who come down to Cancun or Mazatlan and drink themselves sick, walk into restaurants with their shirts off, and demand that waiters speak to them in English.

These Mexican elites are the constituency Fox was addressing with his brutish remarks, and that's why the incident has largely been treated as a non-story south of the border. As far as the Mexican upper crust is concerned, Fox was just stating an indisputable fact.

The way they see it, why would anyone want to be born in the United States when they could be born in Mexico?

I don't get it. But, I guess, as a Mexican-American, I'm not supposed to. My loyalty lies with this country -- the United States -- where you're not locked into whatever station you're born into and where, despite the nonsense that populist doomsayers peddle to the struggling middle class, there's unlimited opportunity to better oneself.

That sure beats the modus operandi in the country that my Mexican grandfather called home as a boy until his family, for economic reasons, had no choice but to emigrate to America -- legally.

I'm grateful for his ordeal. It allowed me to be born in the United States, and, you know, one doesn't get any luckier than that.

Ruben Navarrette Jr.,

Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a columnist and editorial board member of The San Diego Union-Tribune.

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