If you haven't already seen it, OC Weekly's very own Gustavo Arellano has a great editorial in today's LA Times attacking Cardinal Mahoney. (We'd link the story, but you'd have to pay to read it and besides, we're lazy). The piece argues that Mahoney's recent pledge to advocate on behalf of illegal immigrants is hardly “cause for applause” since Mahoney should have been doing that 15 years ago. That's when Father Luis Olivares established a haven in downtown Los Angeles for “illegal immgrants,” a refuge, Arellano writes “where they could sleep and apply for social services without fear of deportation.” The Mexican is right in bitch-slapping Mahoney for his current opportunism and historical antipathy to the illegal immigrant cause–noting that Mahoney did nothing to help Olivares when the INS “branded him a communist.”
Arellano might have added, however, that the INS suspected Olivares of being a commie not because he was protecting illegal immigrants, but because he was protecting illegal immigrants who happened to be refugees from bloody civil wars wrought by U.S. backed military regimes in Guatemala and El Salvador. Although the Reagan administration refused to treat them as such, the bulk of Olivares' flock weren't coming to El Norte to find work, but were fleeing death squads, torture and army massacres. But then again, as the Mexican would say, they're Guatemalan, so who cares.