Los Tigres del Norte – Los Hijos de Hernandez

“Los Hijos de Hernandez,” is part of “Somos Mas Americanos: Music and Civic Participation.”

This song is a conversation between a Latin American immigrant and a US officer at the border. The original lyrics in Spanish can be found here. The encounter is described from the perspective of the immigrant who is asked to show his papers at the border and is offended by the officer’s murmur: “ya con tantos emigrados / muchos norteamericanos / no pueden ni trabajar.” The comments can be translated as “already with so many immigrants, many North Americans cannot even work.” The immigrant responds, not by denying the presence of Latin workers, but by praising their hard work and resilience. He explains: 

  • Si muy duro trabajamos
    tampoco no nos rajamos
    si la vida hay que arriesgar
    en los campos de combate
    nos han echado adelante
    porque sabemos pelear.

    Aquí nacieron mis hijos
    que ignorando los prejuicios
    y la discriminación
    su patria los reclamaba
    y en el campo de batalla
    pusieron el corazón.

  • Yes, we work very hard
    we do not break easily either
    if life has to be risked.
    In the combat fields
    we have been pushed forward
    because we know how to fight.

    Here, my children were born,
    and ignoring prejudices
    and discrimination,
    their country claimed them
    and on the battlefield
    they put their hearts.

As the song continues that narrator explains that Latin Americans are incredibly dedicated and hard workers. Specifically, the song describes the importance of Latinos for the U.S. military and notes that many children of migrants have taken the place of “Saxons” in battle. In the military, the narrator explains that no one noted their Spanish last name since they were all part of the same fight, but those who dislike his Spanish last name on payrolls likely do not realize they will see those same names on another list, the list of those lost in action. In response the story the officer responds: “puedes cruzar la frontera / esta y las veces que quieras / tienes más valor que yo,” “You can cross the border this and all the other times you want, you are more valuable and courageous than I am.”

Reflection Questions

  • Listen to the music and the lyrics (read the translation if necessary). What words, phrases, and sounds resonate with you? Why did you choose those details?
  • How does the song make you feel? What associations do you have with the sounds, the lyrics, and the story being told?
  • If you were to put the message that the narrator is trying to send to the officer in your own words, what would you say?
  • In the end, the officer changes his attitude towards the narrator. Based on your experiences, what kind of communication can encourage someone to change their minds and what kinds of experiences help to break down preconceptions?