Since the Minutemen made the national news (Wacky Westerners beat), it’s more important than ever that we get our facts straight. Here is a brief quiz to test your border savvy. (See cover story.)

1. Cheap Latino labor is vital to:

a. the hospitality industry

b. the food industry, from field to slaughterhouse to restaurant kitchens

c. the construction industry

d. American citizens who cannot be bothered to vacuum their own carpets, rake their own yards or raise their own kids

e. all of the above

2. True or False: Migrants are rooking millions of willing American citizens out of the opportunity to pick crops, butcher animals and change bedpans. (Think about it: What would happen if you suggested that your teenager take a summer job chopping lettuce for 12 hours a day?)

3. Why do most undocumented Mexicans and Central Americans come to the United States?

a. to get free emergency-room care for the hyperthermia that almost killed them crossing the desert

b. to offend recent immigrants from Iowa by speaking Spanish

c. to get far, far away from their parents, spouses, children, friends and homes

d. to selfishly avoid starvation

4. The sensible way to deal with the vast economic chasm between the United States and Mexico, our need for security at the border, Mexican citizens’ need for jobs and Americans’ disdain for dirty work is to:

a. force migrants to cross the most hostile stretches of the desert, hunt them down and dump them back on the other side of the border

b. force migrants to cross the most hostile stretches of the desert and let them die

c. force migrants to cross the most hostile stretches of the desert and declare them criminals

d. force migrants to cross the most hostile regions of the desert to be preyed upon by bandits, coyotes and drug smugglers

e. all of the above

5. Unrecoverable Social Security contributions made by undocumented workers are figured into all the projections and last year totaled an estimated:

a. $20 million

b. $500 million

c. $7 billion

Answer: c. (Source:  The New York Times, April 7, 2005)

6. According to a recent study of the economic relationship between Mexico and Arizona by the Thunderbird/Garvin School of International Management in Glendale, Mexican immigrants contributed $355.7 million in taxes to the Arizona economy 2001. How much in costs did they soak up during the same period?

a. $500 million

b. $355.7 million

c. $250 million

Answer: c. (For the arithmetic-challenged, Arizona came out $105 million ahead.)

7. Current US policy on the border is:

a. illogical

b. inhumane

c. tragic

d. discussed all over the world as evidence of American hypocrisy about human rights

e. all of the above

8. Given current conditions in Mexico—overpopulation, accelerating land-loss by small farmers, NAFTA, increasing poverty and a corrupt, oligarchic government—the next great Mexican leader of Mexico is most likely to resemble:

a. Abraham Lincoln

b. Franklin Delano Roosevelt

c. Nelson Mandela

d. Pancho Villa

9. The arms and technology race between US Border Patrol and Customs and Mexico’s drug cartels is being won and will always be won by the entity with essentially unlimited cash, streamlined procurement procedures and the driving energy of pure, market-driven capitalism. And that would be?

10. True or False: The “minute” in “Minutemen” is rumored to refer to their stamina in bed.

Renée Downing is a columnist for Tuscon Weekly, where this article first appeared.

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