Sunday, November 22, 2009

Immigration observations

Point 1: I live in Sahuarita, which is just south of Tucson, which is in the very south part of Arizona, about 40 minutes away from the border. We live right off the freeway that takes you to Mexico, so we see a lot of traffic with Mexican license plates. A lot of traffic; probably 10 or 15 cars a day with Sonora plates. In fact, we participated in the community-wide yard sale a few months back, and most of the people who came and rummaged our stuff had Sonora plates. Which is fine. People in Mexico need clothes too.

Point 2: Obviously with such proximity to Mexico, immigration is a really hot issue and there are stories on the news all the time about it. One side of this controversy is the water stations some do-gooder types have set up across the desert for those that are so inclined to walk out in the wilderness to get across the border. The idea being that it doesn't cost that much to maintain these water stations compared to the amount of money spent on rescuing people languishing in the desert from lack of water (which lack of water was not a deterrent in the first place, another argument in favor of keeping them).

Query: Why the heck are people walking across (and dying in) the desert when it doesn't appear to be that difficult to just drive over the border? So not difficult, in fact, that you could come up for a day trip to go to a community yard sale? Why couldn't you, if you were so inclined, come across the border and just not go home?

I asked my friend Nate, a Tucson native, these questions, and he said that probably the people who walk across the desert can't afford a passport and/or a car to drive them across the border.

Maybe I'm just not cut out for illegal immigration because still I don't get it. Maybe they don't want a passport because they don't want to be traceable...? Maybe they really are that poor but, I just can't imagine poverty crushing enough to risk walking across the desert, which I am pretty sure even the cleaned up, pesticide treated version that is around my house is actively attempting to kill me. I once walked outside in my dirt backyard in flip flops and sustained at least 20 red ant bites. I can't even imagine walking in the real wilderness. I'd be dead in 5 minutes. Tops.

4 comments:

Amy said...

Naw- I give you 15 mins at least. You're a mom and that has toughened you up!

thejerry said...

A question I have is how many of the immigrants are actually Mexican?

I think people from many countries cross the border, and I had a mission companion from Brazil who was already planning his journey to the U.S. via the Mexico border. I don't know if he ever went ahead with this plan but I'm sure he's not the only one that thought about it.

How hard would it be for him to get to Mexico, buy a Sonora car, and drive through the U.S. border with a Brazilian passport? He seemed more likely to just walk it. In fact, maybe he's walking from Brazil right now.

michelle said...

I concur with the Jerry. A lot of the immigrants are actually immigrating THROUGH Mexico to the US. Even if they did have a passport, the border patrol guys probably wouldn't believe the "I'm going to Amanda's yard sale" excuse.

To provide semi-factual evidence to an issue that nearly always lacks it, I was listening to a radio program on NPR about how there are entire hospitals in southern Mexico set aside for immigrants coming up from Central America who are being robbed, beaten, run over by trains, and worse as they try and make it through Mexico.

I think most people would be surprised by the number of "Mexican" students I work with who are actually Honduran, Guatemalan, or El Salvadorian. (I am not 100% sure how to make El Salvador into an adjective.)

michelle said...

p.s. My curiosity got the best of me and google tells me it is "Salvadorans".

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