She Has A Taco—& An American Tale—For Joe

Melissa Bailey PhotoAfter East Haven’s mayor’s words made her cry, Reyna Catalán invited him to Middletown Avenue to try her tacos—and witness the sacrifice immigrants make.

Catalán, a 35-year-old Guatemalan immigrant, made the invitation Thursday morning at J’s Luncheonette at 48 Middletown Ave. in New Haven, a Guatemalan-Mexican restaurant tucked into an industrial stretch below I-91.

The cook echoed widespread outrage over comments East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo made Tuesday after the feds arrested four of his cops for allegedly targeting, brutalizing, and falsely arresting Latinos as a matter of course, and then lying about it with the help of higher-ups. When a reporter from New York’s WPIX TV asked Maturo what he’d do for the Latino community, he responded, “I might have tacos when I get home.” (Watch it here.)

The remarks brought Catalán to tears Thursday as she discussed the sacrifice she has made to support her 11-year-old son and family in Guatemala.

She said she moved to New Haven five years ago from the countryside outside Salamá, Guatemala. She and her husband moved to the States to find work to support their family back home, she said.

When she got to New Haven, Catalán spent two years doing construction work as part of a roofing crew.

“I worked like a man,” she said. She said it was intimidating at first to work so high up in the air, but she did it for her son.

Three years ago, she left the roofing business to join the kitchen at J’s Luncheonette, a cozy hut tucked between the American Medical Response and the city’s public works department.

The business is named after Jorge Marroquin, who owns the restaurant along with his wife, Gilda. The couple hails from Guatemala City; they serve a mix of Guatemalan and Mexican food.

Catalán started work at 9 a.m. Thursday, chopping toppings for tacos and preparing beans and sauces for the day’s lunch rush. In a break from food preparation, she was asked about Maturo’s comments. Gilda Marroquin explained what East Haven’s mayor had said.

Catalán quickly began to cry.

She said Latinos don’t come to America to “take anything from anyone.”

“One comes to work,” she said, to provide a better life for the next generation. She’s now raising a 1-year-old baby, whom she cares for when she’s finished with her six-hour shift.

“We’re helping our families,” Catalán said.

Marroquin, who’s been in New Haven for 33 years, added that immigrants aren’t just helping their own families, but providing a backbone of labor that sustains the economy.

Catalán said it hurts to hear discriminatory remarks, when “we’re struggling” to move forward in life, at a great sacrifice.

“We’re very far away from our families,” she said. When her son turns 12 on Sunday, she won’t be there to celebrate with him.

It’s painful to be split in two, she said: “You keep half a heart here, and half a heart in your country.”

Catalán and Marroquin invited Maturo to come to their restaurant to better understand what Latino immigrants are going through.

Catalán said she’d make him one of each kind of taco the restaurant offers: tacos al pastor, carne enchilada, carne asada, pollo and lengua de rez.

She said she’d feed him so much that “he will become very fat.”

“I want him to see the sacrifice that one makes” to live as an immigrant in this country, she said, and the all the hard work that’s involved.

To make the tacos, the meat needs to be cooked for three hours. The hand-made tamales take five hours, she said.

To prepare the beans alone, she boils dry beans for three hours, blends the beans into a smooth texture, then cooks them for three more hours with onion and lard.

Catalán prepared three tacos Thursday morning, carefully heating the corn tortillas on a grill, scooping in the meat, then pinching the right amount of lettuce, cilantro, tomato and cheese on top. 

She learned to make the tacos from a Mexican woman when she started working at J’s Luncheonette. While Maturo referred to “tacos” as the token Latino meal, they’re predominantly prepared in Mexico. Other Latino cuisines have a wide range of other foods.

Around 11 a.m., Catalán set to work on her next project—making a Guatemalan specialty called pipián rojo, which is made with chicken, vegetables and a spicy red sauce over rice.

“You should see” what that dish involves, she said. The process will take “many more hours.”

If Maturo makes the trip to New Haven, he might get a taste of that dish, too.

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posted by: Bill on January 26, 2012  2:16pm

Some things Reyna may not know:

Section 8 USC 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv)(b)(iii)
“Any person who . . . encourages or induces an illegal alien to . . . reside . . . knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such . . . residence is . . . in violation of law, shall be punished as provided . . . for each illegal alien in respect to whom such a violation occurs . . . fined under title 18 . . . imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.”
Section 274 felonies under the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, INA 274A(a)(1)(A):
A person (including a group of persons, business, organization, or local government) commits a federal felony when she or he:
• assists an illegal alien s/he should reasonably know is illegally in the U.S. or who lacks employment authorization, by transporting, sheltering, or assisting him or her to obtain employment, or
• encourages that illegal alien to remain in the U.S. by referring him or her to an employer or by acting as employer or agent for an employer in any way, or
• knowingly assists illegal aliens due to personal convictions.
Penalties upon conviction include criminal fines, imprisonment, and forfeiture of vehicles and real property used to commit the crime. Anyone employing or contracting with an illegal alien without verifying his or her work authorization status is guilty of a misdemeanor. Aliens and employers violating immigration laws are subject to arrest, detention, and seizure of their vehicles or property. In addition, individuals or entities who engage in racketeering enterprises that commit (or conspire to commit) immigration-related felonies are subject to private civil suits for treble damages and injunctive relief.
Recruitment and Employment of Illegal Aliens
It is unlawful to hire an alien, to recruit an alien, or to refer an illegal alien for a fee, knowing the illegal alien is unauthorized to work in the United States. It is equally unlawful to continue to employ an illegal alien knowing that the illegal alien is unauthorized to work.
It is unlawful to hire any individual for employment in the United States without complying with employment eligibility verification requirements. Requirements include examination of identity documents and completion of Form I-9 for every employee hired.

posted by: anon on January 26, 2012  2:19pm

OMG, J’s is the BOMB!  Everyone go there now!  The novellas are free.

posted by: William Kurtz on January 26, 2012  2:43pm

Those look good, Ms. Catalán. Now I want some tacos.

This is at least the second invitation extended to Mayor Maturo to enjoy some Latin food at a local establishment. What an opportunity for him to demonstrate his sincere regret for the hurtful thing he said, and show himself to be the compassionate and inclusive leader he would have people believe him to be. I am not optimistic this chance will be seized, but it’s encouraging to see that among the many, many (justified) calls for his resignation, there are some people willing to use this event to open a conversation rather than close one.

posted by: nhteaparty on January 26, 2012  2:46pm

The whole premise of this article is a strawman.  Nobody has issues with LEGAL immigrants.  Nobody.  Half the people in EH (that’s a made up number if you couldn’t tell, btw) are probably fairly recent generations from LEGAL immigrants.  I am the child of LEGAL immigrants.  The ONLY reason some LEGAL immigrants might have been targetted is because there are so many ILLEGAL immigrants.

The fact of the matter is that there are TENS of thousands of ILLEGAL immigrants in our area and the local governments have not only decided to ignore their illegal residence but have put programs in place to facilitate them.

If someone breaks into my house and then cleans it and makes me dinner, I’m not going to be happy when I get home that I have a clean house and dinner, I’m going to be angry that someone broke into my house.

By turning a blind eye to illegal immigration what we are doing is allowing people to live here who are willing to break the law to do so.  All of those people who are willing to wait in line back in their own countries and come in through the proper channels are PUNISHED for their willingness to OBEY OUR LAWS.

Yeah it would be wonderful if we could pack all 9 billion people of the world into America and give them all the wonderful life they want, but it’s impossible.  In order for things to remain different on the inside we need to preserve the barrier from the outside, this is why we have restrictions on immigration and don’t just open the flood gates to whoever wants to come here. 

Liberals are like cat ladies, they just want to keep taking them in forever and ever and never give the reality of what they are doing a second thought (plus it’s more votes for them anyways).

I’m all for extending the civil rights afforded to all American citizens to anyone at all who is on American soil but my sympathies wane when local officials turn a blind eye to people breaking the law by staying here without proper authorization.  I’m sure JD would be a little miffed if I up and started squatting in his living room, I’m not sure why he thinks it’s OK for the rest of the world to up and start squatting in America’s.

If Reyna is a legal immigrant who went through the proper channels to get here I’d like to know what her opinion is of all those who have cut the line to come here illegally?  If Reyna is not here legally I would like to know why she feels she deserves to have an American life more than those who are still back in their own countries patiently waiting to come here through the proper channels.

posted by: Vanessa Poholek Fasanella on January 26, 2012  3:41pm

To nhteaparty: that’s not true.

A lot of people hate everyone who wasn’t born in America.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen faces made and words said toward someone, and it is for all the wrong reasons.  The color of someone’s skin inflames so many people.

As for the claims that so much is being done to help illegal immigrants, what are you implying?  That we should let their children remain out of school, that we should not hire them?  While I understand the letter-of-the-law spirit in which you wrote, you should get your facts straight.

So many immigrants have come here, legal or not, because of something horrible that happened back home.  Like my mother and her family.  And they’ve stayed for almost 50 years.  I think most, if not all of them, came over legally.  But even if they didn’t, they obeyed all laws while here, worked hard, and were model citizens.

That counts for something.  A lot, if you ask me.  We have issues with violent criminal activity, rampant burglaries, over-the-top property taxes, and a poorly run school system.  And none of the immigrants factor into that.  But you will still blame them for everything.

posted by: F is for forgiveness on January 26, 2012  3:53pm

The big Story here is that she would feed him until hes’ fat in others words she would forgive him even though he’s at the head of a ... police department who’s insensitivity made her cry lots of f’s here feed fat and forgiveness!

posted by: Curious on January 26, 2012  3:58pm

...and somewhere in East Haven, the cops are checking this woman’s legal residency status.

posted by: streever on January 26, 2012  4:21pm

When the police in East Haven racially profile minorities—including many who were born here as naturalized citizens, speak fluent english, and hold jobs, pay taxes, and own property—they are “merely” acting out against illegal immigration?


The point is not that they do or do not like legal immigrants, but that their racist and discriminatory policies affect everyone.

If the article is being labeled a strawman, I would urge one to read your defense as a strawman. The simple reality, confirmed by the FBI, is that the behavior is egregious and in violation of federal law.

We will leave it to a court to determine guilt, but the charge has nothing to do with the citizenship or legal status of any individual. The charge is that minorities have been disproportionately impacted by behavior which is inconsistent with federal laws and policies.

I second Kurtz. It is wonderful to see the outreach that citizens are making to Mayor Maturo. I sincerely hope he can accept their offers with gratitude, sincerity, and an open mind, and set a better example than the one he has been setting.

posted by: Pat on January 26, 2012  5:17pm

The mayors words made her cry? Really? The mayor made an all time stupid comment agreed.  But it made her cry?  This world is so soft these days its unreal. Know when i cry when I look at my W2 form in january.

posted by: Gary J Moss on January 26, 2012  5:19pm

For those who so bitterly protest illegal aliens, let me remind them that the term “wop” was used only a few generations ago (hell, it was used in my childhood 40 years ago) to describe Italian-Americans. Does anyone remember that this word derives from “without papers”?

posted by: Judy Peluso on January 26, 2012  5:25pm

I am so totally sick & tired of the self righteous negativity toward so-called illegal immigrants.  This Country was started by “illegal” immigrants who came here searching for a better life & took over this land from the Native People.  People coming now are also looking for a better life & do so, not by taking over the Country, but by working very hard ~ usually at jobs that most people here won’t do.  Please can we Americans have more compassion & kindness.

posted by: Truth Avenger on January 26, 2012  5:38pm

@ NHTEAPARTY: You said, “Liberals are like cat ladies, they just want to keep taking them in forever and ever”...That’s pretty insulting, a tad narrow minded, completely erroneous and is emblematic of the rest of your diatribe: replete with Assumptions. The issue here is about a verbal slap in the face by an official who should know better, to the Hispanic community and all who value fairness and decency.  It is not about who and who isn’t legal. The issue of immigration is far more complex than you assert and not simply a matter of “waiting your turn.” It’s more a matter of survival, not only for the immigrants but the thousands of American businesses and an economy that rely upon the workers. Your assertion that “Nobody has an issue with LEGAL immigrants-nobody"is simply not true.  Racist attitudes pervade some Police departments and Political parties quite apart from anyone’s legal status. Do your sympathies also wane when officials break the law by profiling, harassing, and in some cases injuring human beings simply because of a possibility that they may be illegal?

posted by: brutus2011 on January 26, 2012  5:48pm

I wish to recount an experience of mine regarding this whole illegal/legal immigrant worker thing.

I worked as a caddie at an exclusive Westchester County (NY) country club to help go through college. (Thank God for the golfing membership who were so generous to me/us)

It was a GREAT job. Good money, I could study while waiting for loops, and the members treated us very well.

I competed with aliens who came here for the golf season only. They would come in groups, rent the least expensive flats they could in the Bronx, and jam everyone in as they only slept there.

They would come to the golf course at the crack of dawn to be the first on the list, and they would stay until dark.

Many of them became my friends and I in no way wish to disparage them. They would show me jewelry, cars, and pictures of the homes they bought in their native country with the money they earned here.

The incentive to come and be split from their families for half the year was simple.

The money made it worth it.

For example, in the Dominican Republic, the US dollar was/is worth about 10 times the native currency (peso). If one carried two bags ($60/bag)one made $120 USD. This translated into $1200 DR pesos. If one did doubles for 18 holes twice a day then the daily income doubles.

What really made it a rational choice to come here and be apart from family was that the cost of living was/is much lower there than here. So my Dominican friends made it on both ends.

Of course, the caddie masters (those who handed out the caddie assignments) often took kick backs from these immigrants because they could. Even so, the income these hard-working immigrants could realize was astounding relative to the opportunities available to them in their home countries.

Many exclusive club full-time caddies make about 10-15K USD for the season here before going to Florida for the winter to work at similar rates. So you are looking at an effective income of 125K +/- for working as a laborer for one-half of the year. Interesting, eh?

I did okay so I did not mind the competition. But I often wondered why this was allowed to occur.

Wouldn’t most of us here in the United States go to work in another country if we could make 10 times what we could make here? And not pay taxes? Even counting the kick-backs to the corrupt managers?

Look, before someone goes off on me and launches into how insensitive I am or whatever, please understand that I believe that we don’t consider the economic incentives or that possibly American citizens, who pay taxes and US living costs, have jobs taken by those who come here to make as much money as they can and do not intend or want to make our country their home.

I tell you what, if I went to Casa de Campo (an world famous golf course in the Dominican Republic) to work for a winter, I might be found with my throat slit in an alley within 2 weeks. (Please do not interpret this as some kind of racist comment—it is about the color green and not about your skin complexion)

So take from this what you will (as you will no matter what I say) and please consider the imbalance of financial incentives when discussing this issue of alien work status or illegal immigration.

posted by: MariaN on January 26, 2012  6:35pm

some europeans got lost on their way to india and found a hemisphere thriving with human culture. they then cleared the hemisphere of 95% of its original inhabitants, 99% of it’s old growth forests and wild lands, built an empire on slave labor, colonial conquest and used military might to create imaginary borders.
people have migrated up and down the americas for thousands of years. corn, beans, squash, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes- foods that indians saved the pilgrims butt’s with- are the product of that migration. now when our neighbors from the south carry out the same migration, they’re the ‘illegal’s?’
how is any of that logical?
and thank you to mr. moss for pointing out that italians we’re criminalized, brutalized and marginalized by police, by bosses and by ‘native’ white people. now that italians, irish, and other eastern and southern european people are considered white, we’ve erased our memory of our pain and placed it on people from latin amerika. we should be ashamed.

posted by: William Kurtz on January 26, 2012  6:45pm


What did you do to “deserve an American life?”

I know I didn’t do anything to “deserve it”. I just inherited it by accident of birth.

The idea that “Nobody has issues with LEGAL immigrants.  Nobody.” is, of course, complete nonsense.

posted by: William Kurtz on January 26, 2012  6:52pm

Gary Moss’s point is well-taken, but interestingly, the derogatory term ‘wop’ does not, as is often though, derive from an acronym for ‘without papers.’

It more likely originates in the word ‘guappo’ which (I believe) translates directly as ‘handsome’ but can also be used as a noun meaning a man usually vain and overly concerned with his image, dress, or appearance—like a ‘dandy’ or a ‘pretty boy’.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on January 26, 2012  7:15pm

If immigration laws were as strict before WW1 as they are now, we wouldn’t have any canals or railroad system, we wouldn’t have many of our buildings and streets, we wouldn’t have most of our conveniences and consumer products and we wouldn’t have many of our finest pieces of art and architectural craftsmanship because many Irish, Italian and Eastern European immigrants wouldn’t have been able to come to this country.
I think it is important to follow the rule of law as they currently stand on the books, but it is equally important to advocate for those laws to be changed if they are idiotic and overly restrictive. Now, while these changes and reforms are being discussed I can’t support breaking these laws - even if they’re idiotic - but I also don’t feel they need to enforce them that aggressively. As long as no one’s personal wellbeing is contromised by the presense of an “illegal immigrant”, I don’t think it’s necessary to expend absurd amounts of money to detain and deport them, when that is an issue for Federal policy and initiatives (better border security and a better naturalizing process). State and local enforcement of immigration is too expensive and ineffective, and while the Federal enforcement of it isn’t much better currently, it is the proper level of government that should deal with it and could deal with it effectively with better policies in place.

While the history of America is certainly shameful on many levels, I also don’t really find any worth in discussing migrating cultures and pre-industrial habitats when determining sovereignty and borders. That probably would have ben worthwhile a centruy ago, but the landscape is so different today that handing Mexico back it’s land doesn’t really make any sense to me. Maybe if I heard a thoughtful and detailed proposal, I’d rethink the issue.

posted by: Gary J Moss on January 26, 2012  7:48pm

I stand corrected about the derivation of the term “wop.” Now isn’t it so ironic? “guappo” is Italian, “guano” is Spanish!

posted by: The Professor on January 26, 2012  7:57pm

NHTeaParty says “Nobody has issues with LEGAL immigrants.  Nobody.  Half the people in EH (that’s a made up number if you couldn’t tell, btw) are probably fairly recent generations from LEGAL immigrants.”

Two glaring problems with that statement. 
1) US immigration law has changed significantly since our ancestors came here.  The fact is, while your parents may have come here legally, it would be far, far more difficult for them to do so today, especially if they come from certain countries (e.g. Latin American ones).
2) So basically you’re saying that, because there’s a group of people who is living here in violation of the law, the government (and vigilantes) should be able to harass anyone who looks like a subset of that group of people (may I remind you that not all those living in this country without authorization are Hispanic)?  I think there’s a legitimate debate to be had about where our immigration policy should be.  But the problem with a lot of the rhetoric from the right wing is that it’s been highly racialized, and frankly I’m not convinced that general dislike for hispanic people isn’t driving this “we don’t like illegals” sentiment rather than vice versa.

Let me put it to you this way:  given how onerous the current immigration regime is, and given your support for “legal” immigration, would you support making it easier for people to come to this country legally if it could be shown that doing so would not depress American wages or substantially burden the healthcare system?  If the answer to that is no, then frankly you need to be more honest about what’s really driving your policy views.

posted by: Dross1958 on January 26, 2012  8:50pm

Police illegal behavior is serious.

The Mayor’s comments are not.  This tempest in a teapot is overblown and smacks of people trying to make the Mayor the issue when he is not, at least not because of the comment he made.

I enjoy tacos, does that make me an issue?

I have to suspect Malloy needs an issue to distract us from the fact that after the largest tax increase in Ct history he has spend us into the RED in only 5 months.

Someone should send him tacos

posted by: Goatville mom on January 26, 2012  9:05pm

Vanessa Poholek Fasanella wrote: “So many immigrants have come here, legal or not, because of something horrible that happened back home.”
Exactly right…and in some /many cases, that something horrible was the direct result of US action /meddling in the affairs of the home country. Like Reagan and the CIA in Guatemala, to give just one example.

posted by: Gary J Moss on January 26, 2012  9:10pm

aaaarggghhh… autocorrect… in previous comment, not “guano” — “guapo”… lol

posted by: nhteaparty on January 26, 2012  9:29pm

@Vanessa:  Of course I don’t mean nobody.  There are plenty of people to hate everyone.  Just relative to illegals the number of people who are hostile towards legal immigrants is small enough to be within the norm of American hatred of everything/everyone.

Skin color is an easy thing to pick on but there are plenty of things said between different nationalities that are the same color, heck there are even things said within nationalities about people from different regions.  Racism is but one flavor of the many types of prejudice practiced in this great nation.

Nobody should hire illegal immigrants.  That is breaking the law.  If their kids are born here they are citizens so they should go to school, that’s the law (although I don’t agree with birthright citizenship, but that’s a topic for another day).  But as far as should we let parents stay here who are illegal who have children who have birthright citizenship: No.  The kids can stay if they have legal family to stay with, or they can go back with their parents.  You cannot have the American life by stealing it “fair and square”.

And finally I don’t blame immigrants, legal or not, for anything other than breaking the law to be here.  Immigrants work 10x as hard and are 10x as grateful for the opportunity to do so as your typical ... American.  But if we’re just going to ignore the law why even bother having it.  Open the doors, anyone who wants American citizenship just come on over.  I’m sure you’d quickly have our current illegals complaining about how the new immigrants don’t deserve to be here.

@Streever:  I’m fairly certain I didn’t defend anything.  What I said was that if any of the “many who… own property” were targetted it is because they were caught by cops who were targetting illegals.  Illegals who wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for ... (radical liberals) doing everything in their power to make life easier for illegal immigrants to stay here.

No doubt cops are racist… everyone is racist, this is America… ... (btw: “I’m not racist” is exactly what all racists say)

The strawman in this article is that people are hostile to immigrants, which is a lie.  The strawhat, flannel, and overalls slapped on to make it appear plausible is the ommission of the word ILLEGAL.  Legal and Illegal Immigrants are two totally different populations (hell MOST of the people I work with everyday are LEGAL immigrants).  The verbal slight of hand offends me greatly.  ...
No. What the cops were doing isn’t right, but that’s not even close to what I said, or implied, or meant, and you trying to put those words into my mouth is another example of a strawman.

@Gary: No.  First of all the papers from the WOP myth were identification papers, not the approved applications for entry into the country that today’s illegal immigrants lack.  Secondly “wop” likely comes from the italian word guappo which was basically slang for ganster, which was originally used by Italians from one region referring to Italians from another region.

@Judy: No.  There is no so-called about it.  The people who are in this country right now who are here illegally are truely illegal immigrants.  The people who started this country weren’t illegal, there weren’t even laws.  And truely the laws are written by the conquerers… you might not like it but that’s the way of the world for just about the last 100,000 years and likely the next 100,000 as well.

@Truth Avenger:  ... “the thousands of American businesses…”  Yes all of those businesses that couldn’t survive without a steady stream of slave labor.

@William Kurtz:  I’d gladly be open to a system to review citizenship; might be a good way to make room for all those who want to come here.  I’ve worked shoulder to shoulder with migrant laborers and and legal immigrants since I was in kneepants and still do today.  I honestly think I might have known more foreigners than natives in my lifetime.  I’m pretty sure I’d pass the test.  And it was no accident I was born here, my parents and grandparents applied to come here through the proper channels so that I could have this American life.

Let me ask you the same question I already answered for Truth and Streever:  Who should not be allowed to come here? ...

Again to reiterate what I said to Vanessa, “nobody” wasn’t intended to taken so absolutely.  ...

We have a system of legal immigration in this country.  It exists for a reason.  We are a reactive country, not proactive.  We will not do anything until we are forced.  If liberals keep ignoring illegal immigration nothing will ever be done to reform our immigration laws. 

Illegal immigrants are a vulnerable population by their very nature.  As long as they exist in this country they WILL be exploited by all kinds of bad people.  And when there are a lot of them with similar background in a localized area some non-illegals will get caught in the crossfire.

posted by: terrapin on January 27, 2012  1:31am

Hey, guess what?
Other than Native Americans, we’re all here illegally. We stole this land with misleading treaties and land deals, drove the inhabitants off the land and pushed them onto reservations. That is, the ones we didn’t kill.

So whoop-de-f’n-do if you’ve got a green card, or your great great great grandpa came over on the Mayflower, or your forebears came through Ellis Island. We’re living on land we stole from someone else, that mortgage you have is just proof of your receiving stolen property.

posted by: streever on January 27, 2012  9:53am

You may have missed it, but Joe Maturo won the mayorship by leaning heavily on the police. Gallo is credited as being the force that won the election for him, squeaking out a narrow victory.

The Mayor appoints the police chief, and by endorsing Gallo despite all evidence being that the man is behaving illegally, he is endorsing the approach that Gallo takes.

Why isn’t a public official, elected to his office and given a huge power to appoint and retain a police chief, culpable?

He wields a great level of power in his town. Why can’t we hold him accountable?

The issues with Gallo aren’t new. Maturo choose to ignore them when he ran for Mayor, and now that he is Mayor, instead of addressing the issues, he is making racially insensitive and insulting remarks.

He really shouldn’t be blamed *at all*?

posted by: dross1958 on January 27, 2012  10:25am

Thank you for the thoughtful reply.  I do not disagree with you.  My point is merely the issue is not tacos.  Lets focus on the real issue. 

Regards to the commenter who says we all stole this land.  True.  Why dont you run global DNA tests and make everyone go back to their DNA home?  I think you will find only the Inituits are non-stealers.  Sorry Mom back to Turkey to you and Dad your DNA points to Iberia 10,000 years ago. So does this mean the hispanics should go back to Spain?

posted by: Mary Faulkner on January 27, 2012  11:20am

I find it disturbing that so many people expect this woman to prove her citizenship status.  I don’t see many other stories on the NHI where comments suggest other people prove their residency status.  No one has ever asked me if I was in America legally.  My husband is from Australia and he has NEVER been questioned by anyone about his status, outside of his employer.  I am guessing that is because he is white and speaks English as a first language.  I guess the assumption is that Reyna Catalán is Hispanic and works in a restaurant so she MUST be illegal?  Isn’t that racial profiling?

posted by: William Kurtz on January 27, 2012  11:31am


I doubt that anyone thinks the issue is ‘tacos’—the issue is a persistent pattern of harassment and intolerance, most egregiously on display by the indicted officers of the EHPD, but long aided and abetted by a town leadership and a citizenry that mostly looked the other way when not actively supporting it or covering it up.

The outrage over tacogate isn’t about Mayor Maturo’s choice of foods, or whether he even understands that tacos aren’t a universal staple in Latin America. It’s about the fact that an elected official clearly communicated to a reporter his unwillingness to engage with a sizable portion of his constituency, instead dismissing their concerns with an arrogant and belittling remark.

Essentially, what he told the reporter was, “I’ not going to do anything.” The crack about tacos added a nice racist icing on the cake of his indifference.

posted by: streever on January 27, 2012  12:29pm

If we’re going to discuss logical fallacy, please, allow me to point out the biggest one you are consistently making.

You are conflating illegal immigration with liberal policy.

This is absolutely a fallacy—you are using a “false cause”.

How has anyone demonstrated that “liberal” policy is why we have immigrants who do not pass our legal requirements?

Some of the most conservative, closed border nations on earth deal with incredible levels of “illegal” immigrants.

Does Texas have less of a problem than Connecticut? Texas is incredibly conservative. Is there an actual impact on immigration that is measurable?

What about Israel? Do they have no problems with people in their country illegally? Iran? China? Russia? Many european countries have taken extremely far-right conservative stances on immigration. Do they have no illegal immigrants?

The case you imply simply doesn’t exist.

Regardless, how does liberal immigration policy matter here?

Police in East Haven were harassing innocent citizens on a regular basis because they made a biased assumption about their race and origin. The Mayor not only used the opportunity to crack racist jokes, but to defend the police.

I really don’t understand where you are coming from. It does not logically follow.

posted by: William Kurtz on January 27, 2012  12:58pm

Nice try, Streever, but there’s so little logic on display in most of the arguments against illegal immigration that it’s useless to try to get at all the problems.

How do those ILLEGALS find the time to suck up all the medical, schooling, and welfare benefits intended for good, honest, hard-working, god-fearing Americans whose parents and grandparents waited in line and did it the LEGAL WAY, when they’re so busy working from dawn through the middle of the night at the low-paying jobs without benefits they’re stealing from us?

Businesses that hire ILLEGALS should be held criminally responsible, except the businesses that watch our children, cook our food, tend to our lawns, build our buildings, harvest produce and butcher and pack the meat we buy at the grocery store, and make all of those things possible for the rock-bottom prices we are willing to pay.

What part of ILLEGAL don’t I understand? The LAW is the LAW. Anyone breaking the law is a criminal, unless you’re a police officer demonstrating an aggressive disregard for people’s civil and human rights. Then it’s probably just a misunderstanding, or a liberal attack.

And so on.

posted by: William Kurtz on January 27, 2012  1:25pm


posted by: nhteaparty on January 27, 2012  4:38pm

@Mary ” I guess the assumption is that Reyna Catalán is Hispanic and works in a restaurant so she MUST be illegal?”

No the article says explicitly that she is an immigrant and omits whether or not she is a legal immigrant or illegal immigrant.  It’s not racist, it using your brain.

posted by: Goatville mom on January 27, 2012  10:19pm

@nhteaparty—do you have any idea how difficult, if not impossible, it is to come to the US legally from many countries?
If the current system of legal immigration was in place a generation ago, many of us wouldn’t be here.
Do you have any idea the circumstances many of these people are fleeing? If your children were starving, what you would you do?
Then add to that the fact that in several countries the US played a role in bringing about those very circumstances people are fleeing from.
Many things are easy to analyze from a position of privilege and comfort. Walk a mile in their shoes and then talk.

posted by: HhE on January 28, 2012  12:26am


Thanks Bill for the fear mongering. 

nhteaparty, you seam to have a problem with the meaning of universals.  “Nobody has issues with LEGAL immigrants.  Nobody.” would be disproved by one case of one person objecting to legal immigration or any legal immigrant.  “No doubt cops are racist… everyone is racist, this is America” is again easily knocked on the head.

If I understand your model of policing correctly, if a significant number of a given population group are in violation of some law, then abusing every member of that group is okay.

I would take issue with your second generation status, by own children are second generation.

Well said, William Kurtz.

Our economy is based on having a certain number of illegal aliens.For example…

Orginaly an illegal alien…