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PROBE: Oct. 9, 2001

October 09, 2001

QUESTION (more or less): My paternal grandfather came from India. My parents and three of my four grandparents were born here. I believe I am as American as baseball and hot dogs. I speak English without an accent.

When I crossed the border today, the guard asked me about my citizenship, and I said I am a U.S. citizen. He asked, "Where were you born?" and I said Calexico. He wrote something on a slip of paper and told me to take it to the office. I did.

The agent there reversed the questions. "Where were you born?" I said, "Calexico, California," and he asked, "Citizenship?" I thought it was a trick question.

I said, "California is in the U.S."

He said, "I mean what country?"

"America," I said.

When I told him my name, he said, "That doesn't sound like an American name to me."

Can you tell me what an American name sounds like? — Stalled-at-the-Border, Brawley

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Even after we thought about it, we couldn't come up with an American name. Maybe PROBE readers can do better.

We're sorry you had a bad time at the border but let it pass. We're all on edge these days. We've been through a trauma.

We're sure the immigration and customs agents see themselves as protecting us from foreign terrorists bent on poisoning our water and putting microbes into out air-conditioning systems.

The trouble is we don't know what a terrorist looks like. We don't even know what an American looks like.

QUESTION: An Arab has been trying to buy liquid oxygen or liquid nitrogen from a business near Niland. He also was seen at the airport flying in a private plane and then looking like he was lost.

Liquid compressed gas could be used to cool bio-weapons. Has anyone checked him out? Has law enforcement investigated? — Alert, Niland

Maybe you should have called the Imperial County Sheriff's Office before you wrote to PROBE with your concern.

Sheriff Harold Carter said, "We've heard nothing about any suspicious activities. It's been quiet. That's one of the nice things about living in a rural area."

ROWDY RAIDER FANS — It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out there are a lot more Oakland Raider fans in the Valley than fans of Tampa Bay or Green Bay. Why didn't KWST Channel 13 show the Raider game instead of the Green Bay-Tampa Bay contest.

It would have made more sense to show the Kansas City Chiefs play the Denver Broncos. At least the chiefs have a Valley boy on the team in Glenn Cadrez. My friends and I watched the Raiders on a Mexicali station. — Wearing Black, Calexico

At least you speak Spanish. We know one Hispanic dude who doesn't speak Spanish but watched the Raiders game on the Mexicali station. He muted the sound.

Will it make you feel better to know that Channel 13 picked the San Diego Chargers game for its early outing? It was our painful duty several years ago to report to the local Charger fans that Channel 13 had decided there were more Raider than Charger fans in the Valley.

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