Harlingen, Texas - The rule, requiring Mexican nationals truck drivers to speak English for highway safety reasons, has been on the books since 1971 and then expanded in 1994 with the passage of NAFTA. However, only now it will be enforced after delays in court by labor unions and environmentalist. On the eve of its, enforcement, this month, it has some Mexican-American wondering why a similar law is not applicable to New York City taxi drivers, the entire state of New Jersey and greater parts of Massachusetts.
Some Mexican-Americans are leery as what it means to their rights to drive down the road without having to check their rearview mirror for flashing red lights and leaving law enforcement officials once again to implement the policies of politicians formed far away in the air-conditioned cooled offices of Washington.
The Highway Patrol has its job cut out for itself, having to strike a balance with a system that is both fair-minded to the large Southwestern Mexican-American population, preserving and protecting their rights, and yet practical in dealing with cross boarder traffic of Mexican nationals.
Highway patrol officers say, however, that they have little choice but to look for the more visible outward tell tale signs that identifies a driver does not speak English, which includes anyone of the following, or combination thereof:
The lack of the Confederate flag or sticker anywhere on their truck, conversely any of the following bumper stickers on their truck like a 'Kiss Me I'm Mexican' bumper sticker, or 'How am I Driving Now You [Censored] Gringo' bumper sticker or a Yosemite Sam wearing a Mexican sombrero bumper sticker or 'English? I Speak No English. I Don't Need to Speak No Stinking English' bumper sticker, and anyone with those sexy silver silhouettes of naked women on their mud flaps; however, most importantly, pulling over anyone and everyone that looks Mexican or in this case sounds Mexican, too.
In addition, Highway patrol officers will be checking the pre-set radio buttons of parked trucks at roadside cafes to find out who is listening to Mexican radio stations.
However, before you, protesters grab your signs and run for the boarder charging racism, say trade experts, it is all in accord with the 1994 NATFA trade agreement. So officially, its not racism but nationalism, so that makes it okay.
Only to the millions of Mexican-Americans that face the possibility of being pulled over and having their nationality questioned because of their race, it is of little comfort, not to mention confusing. Except for one thing, it will not be the first time America has forsaken one of her native sons in the name of commerce.
Moreover, it is said that Mexican official are likewise preparing to stop any American truck driver on their side of the boarder, if they cannot speak Spanish, affording the equal opportunity for abuses South of the boarder for all.
"Not a problem," said a spokesperson from the Independent Truckers Union of American. "We got it covered. All our drivers speak Spanish, Chinese, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Filipino, Ebonics, Hindu, Muslim, and even that weird sounding African clicking language with the tongue."