The Hunt For The Great Bright Illegal
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The hunt for the Great Bright Illegal continues. Everybody who is anybody keeps proclaiming that we are lucky to be getting all these highly talented illegal immigrants from Mexico, but, as the decades and generations go by, it's hard to come up with very many names of high achievers to anecdotally illustrate the bromides.

A couple of weeks ago, the NYT Magazine made a big whoop over a reporter named Jose Antonio Vargas, who won a share of a Pulitzer Prize for being part of a team of Washington Post reporters who covered the Virginia Tech mass murders of 31 students (by an immigrant, of course, but that part usually gets left out). Not surprisingly, Vargas is gay. More surprisingly, he's an Asian, a Filipino. That's pretty weak when you can't even find a Mexican after decades of trying.

Now, the Chronicles of Higher Education has a long article by Amherst professor Ilan Stavans, that might be a hoax because it fulfills so many stereotypes that sophisticated observers have noticed:

Academic Purgatory
An illegal immigrant earns a Ph.D. Now what?
By Ilan Stavans
Jorge Arbusto isn't the type of person who seeks the limelight. In fact, for years he has thrived in the shadows. But ask him today what he wants, and his answer is unequivocal: to be recognized.
A sweet, passionate, steadfast student originally from Mexico, Jorge (his name has been changed for this article)
I'll say. "Jorge Arbusto" is Spanish for "George Bush." That raises questions about whether the whole article is a hoax intended as satire on the cult of the illegal alien, but the tone is so authentically maudlin that that seems unlikely.
may be the only undocumented immigrant to successfully defend a doctoral dissertation in the United States.
Wow. Tens of millions of illegal aliens over the years and a grand total of one Ph.D. from that vast population? Wow. That's such a miserably low a level of achievement that even I can't believe it's true. But, the takeaway lesson is that it's close enough to be true that nobody except me questions it.
Certainly he is among a very small group. Yet his case poses questions that not only affect thousands of undergraduates today-some sources put it at around 50,000-but also challenge our ideas about hard work, the choices that colleges do or should make, the value of education (for students and society), and, yes, that thorn in our political side-immigration and the Dream Act, which is still stalled in Congress.
So, what kind of dissertation did Jorge Arbusto write? Did he solve the problems of fusion energy generation?
Having defended his dissertation on Spanish-language popular culture, Jorge received his Ph.D. in Hispanic studies this past spring.

Not surprisingly, the mystery man is gay:

He left Mexico to escape a dangerously homophobic atmosphere.
This is a weird new theme in Diversity Talk: the assumption that we need to have open borders to protect homosexuals from the homophobia of Mexicans. Your Lying Eyes points to a bizarre NYT article by Sam Dolnick entitled For Many Immigrants, Marriage Vote Resonates that tries to tie together, somehow, the Wall Street-funded triumph of gay marriage in the New York legislature with the Carlos Slim-funded NYT's campaign for illegal immigration amnesty:
Gay Latino immigrants like Gamaliel Lopez, a native of Mexico, came to this country because they could not imagine an openly gay life at home. They found acceptance in some ways - Mr. Lopez says he can express his sexuality without fear in New York - but they also felt as if they entered the country with two black marks: one for being an immigrant, another for being gay.
Uh, are gay/immigration articles not factchecked because it would be heresy to doubt anybody's assertions on such sacred topics? A Google search on the words Gay Mexico brings up 212,000,000 pages starting with a Gay Mexico Map. In John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces (set about 1963), Dorian Greene (get it?) of the French Quarter tells Ignatius that Dorian's gay party is going so strong that
"Several people will be completely ruined after this evening. There's going to be a mass exodus for Mexico City in the morning. But then Mexico City is so wonderfully wild."
The Derb points out in the comments on Your Lying Eyes that Mexico instituted gay marriage in 2009.

Obviously, Mexico is full of lunkheaded machos, but why importing millions of them into the U.S. makes American gays less likely to be bullied is unclear. (I have a different suspicion: that affluent gays like having lots of poor young men around who come from a culture that says a maricon isn't defined by who he goes to bed with but by what he does there.)

Back to the article by Ilans Stavans about Jorge Arbusto. I had never heard of Professor Stavans, but it turns out that he's an extremely energetic Mexican-American. He's only 50 and he's published 25 books. Granted, I've never heard of any of them, even his The Essential Ilans Stavans, and his career seems mostly testimony to the huge demand among academics for something, anything by Mexican immigrants.

But he clearly shatters the stereotype of Mexican immigrants as unintellectual and unmotivated. Let's find out more about him from his Wikipedia article, which begins:

Ilan Stavans (born Ilan Stavchansky on April 7, 1961, in Mexico City) is a Mexican-American, essayist, lexicographer, cultural commentator, translator, short-story author, TV personality, and teacher known for his insights into American, Hispanic, and Jewish cultures.
Ilan Stavans was born in Mexico to a middle-class Jewish family from the Pale of Settlement, his father Abraham was a popular Mexican soap opera star.
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