The question of how to understand and address longstanding—and at times violent—hostility toward Mexican immigrants in the United States remains pressing. In his essay, Rogers Smith attempts to describe a just immigration policy, one that could ease anti-immigrant conflict, based on obligations upon the U.S. government that arise from its coercive shaping of the social identities and aspirations of Mexican immigrants. Smith is correct to focus on the conflicts between intersecting and contradictory factors that affect identity formation among immigrants, but I argue that a focus on similar conflicts among those who hold strong anti-immigrant views suggests that such contradictions may also be animating anti-Mexican immigrant hostility. Among the most important of these may be those arising from the American dream—a formative narrative that encourages euphoria about socioeconomic possibilities but that cloaks underlying economic instabilities, exploitation, and widespread vulnerabilities. The pain of these contradictions, typically unacknowledged by those whom they affect, can spike in times of economic downturn, exciting anti-Mexican immigrant sentiments that provide an outlet for the rage and agony of unresolved conflict.