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Immigration policy parodies itself

In 1994, Lalo Alcaraz, an up-and-coming radical Chicano cartoonist, and his partner in cultural provocation, Esteban Zul, struck upon a brilliant bit of satire to mock California’s odious Proposition 187, which aimed to prohibit illegal immigrants from using state-run hospitals and schools. Launching a fake media campaign, the pair peddled the absurd idea of “self-deportation” through the invented persona of Dr. Daniel D. Portado (a.k.a. Alcaraz himself ). The ironic campaign, which was taken seriously by some mainstream media outlets, exposed the moral bankruptcy of a very real legislative effort: to make life so unpleasant for Mexican migrants that they would opt for voluntary repatriation—and in the best of cases cease entering the United States altogether.

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