23 | OCT | 2019
File photo / EL UNIVERSAL

The Tragedy of Immigrating to the US

Mexico City
Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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Illegal immigration and its different angles

Similarly to drug trafficking and organized crime, illegal immigration of Mexican citizens is one of the realities that deeply tie the United States with Mexico. It's a situation originated in the poor regions of the country –  where there are minimal opportunities to prosper, receive a better education or find a job.

Illegal immigration towards Mexico's northern neighbor is a drama that sees dozens of thousand of low-income Mexicans and Central-Americans embark on an adventure without a definite outcome. From all those who start the journey, many do not arrive at their destination. The proof being the recent case where 10 immigrants died in Texas – four of them Mexican – who suffocated while being illegally transported inside a trailer container.

This case is a symbol of the struggle illegal immigrants face when trying to reach the United States alive; likewise, it is also a depiction of the incompetence of the American authorities who, due to corruption or oversight, allow the passage of vehicles transporting immigrants – vehicles which travel, for obvious reasons, in poor conditions, sometimes bordering on suicidal.

What do immigrants face when they decide to cross the northern border without documents? This transit is more complicated when analyzed from all angles. Transportation has a high economic cost, there are many risks that jeopardize their lives, and the constant threat of capture follows them like a shadow.

Latino immigrants arrive in the United States because, beginning with employers, there is a strong demand for cheap labor. Additionally, Mexicans who manage to build a life on the other side bear witness that it's possible to achieve, in little time, a quality of life in the US that in Mexico they could never afford, not even after years of hard work. It's a very solid logic, apparently, yet it dismisses the complexities of the journey immigrants make towards the so-called “American Dream”.

Thus, years go by, together with administrations and initiatives, and little has changed for the immigrants, who face a constant dilemma. On the one hand, they have the option to leave, despite the risk of abuse and capture, placing their lives in the hands of the criminal gangs who transport them. On the other, they can stay but remain submerged in the poverty and violence of their native land.

The Mexican Government has a huge responsibility for its inability to convince its citizens to stay in the face of poverty and lack of education and opportunities. Yet, the toughening of immigration policies in the US is evidence of the scorn with which Mexicans in that country are regarded. Immigrants deserve a fair treatment and recognition at both sides of the border. This tragedy cannot be in vain.


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