chapter  3
Cannibalistic Hospitality: Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer
Pages 24

In the run up for the United States Senate election in Louisiana in 2010, David Vitter (R-La) ran an extreme case of negative advertising against the Democratic contender, Charlie Melancon, and his alleged immigration policies. The ad portrays a group of migrants walking cautiously along the imsy Mexican-United States border in the dark. There is actually no need for secrecy, for there is an inviting opening in the fence marked by a neon sign that reads “Enter Here.” A welcoming reception salutes the newcomers with a Charlie Melancon sign written in English and Spanish: “Charlie Melancon Welcomes You to the USA”/“Bienvenidos a los USA.” The bilingual welcome

materializes in a check made payable to “All Illegal Aliens” for a total amount of “A Lot of Taxpayer Money” and is signed by Charlie Melancon. A cheerful fanfare celebrates the arrival of the newcomers, as the border patrol agents witness the scene in dismay. Finally the immigrants, who look like street-gang members, are invited into a limo and ride away cheering and holding the gigantic check. The voice-over conveys Melancon’s immigration record: “Melancon voted to make it easier for illegals to get taxpayer funded benets, and actual welfare checks. Melancon even voted against allowing police to arrest illegals. Thanks to Charlie Melancon, it’s no wonder illegals keep coming, and coming” (Kleefeld 2010). The ad fabricates a deluxe hospitality that welcomes immigrants who are a priori characterized as potential criminals. The opening in the fence marks the beginning of a triumphant entrance into the United States. It is a welcome that already marks the immigrant as parasite. The herida abierta, the metaphor that Gloria Anzaldúa coined to describe the United States-Mexico border, is portrayed as a real nancial wound for American taxpayers, who see their money squandered on dodgy immigrants speeding away into the host country, celeb rating their successful entrance. This entrance, however, has little to do with their actual arrival in the United States and their incorporation into American society.