Antonio Swad has become yet another pawn in the Great Immigration Reform
Swad owns Pizza Patron, a Texas-based pizza chain. There are 65 stores in six
states. Things have gone well since the first Pizza Patron opened in 1986. And then
Swad had to go ahead and try to expand his consumer base.
The controversy has to do with the decision to accept pesos as well as dollars. Sales
have increased steadily since this practice was implemented at Pizza Patrons
countrywide. But so have the angry phone calls, emails and death threats.
Swad contends that his decision was simply to reach out more to the Hispanic
community, the chain’s largest consumer base. For the customers that travel back to
Mexico, they can “dispose of their pesos that they didn’t change at the border.”
As Swad says, “we’re talking about $5 or $10. We’re not talking about enough
money to buy a new car.” I’m not saying that this is the most brilliant idea that I’ve
ever heard, but it’s not as if anarchy will arise through this one store’s choice to accept
alternate currency. People aren’t going to try and pay their taxes in seashells.
American visitors to border towns in Mexico are allowed to use American dollars.
And sure, it can be argued that if Pizza Patron accepts pesos, will it also
accept Canadian dollars, or other non-American currency?
Some believe that all of this will discourage Mexican immigrants from assimilating
into American culture. I’m really not concerned. The chances that they will get all of
their consumer needs met at places like Pizza Patron are slim. Even if more stores
follow in the footsteps of the pizza stores, no big chain will follow suit. And plus, I’d be
more concerned about how item packaging, signs and the like are in multiple
languages. If you move to a foreign country, and are able to communicate in your
native tongue, there is less of an incentive to assimilate than if you are able to use
some pesos to buy a dinner. I agree with Swad: “I don’t think that assimilation is
necessarily tied to that 100 peso bill you have tucked away in your sock drawer. I
think assimilation is…a much bigger and broader subject than that.” Because this is
such a heated subject, people are making mountains out of mole hills.
As far as monetary issues facing America today, I am much more concerned about
the massive deductions Uncle Sam makes out of my paycheck. Where does that
money really go? What about the hundreds of dollars that people are forced to spend
monthly to get where they need to go? Why are the majority of Americans in some
sort of debt? Why is there so much poverty and homelessness? Why are incomes
being siphoned for social programs that don’t seem to combat these issues
very well? No matter where you stand on the immigration dispute, it’s ridiculous to
get riled up about issues as small as this one. I think it weakens the side of people
fighting for immigration reform. The people who send death threats (or threats of
any kind) are extremists and irrational. And with people focusing on the outlying
events, no resolution will ever be reached.