Saturday, May 20, 2006

A dose of reality

What really happens at the border, from an article by Ginger Thompson in the NYT:

Looking out at the vast parched landscape ahead, Mr. Espindola, a coffee farmer, talked about the poverty he had left behind, and said: "Our damned government forces us to leave our country because it does not give us good salaries. The United States forces us to go this way."

The bold lettering is mine. Then:

A couple miles down the road, two sunburned men, their clothes tattered and their lips severely chapped, look the image of needy. Raúl Calderón, 60, and his 22-year-old son Samuel, had been walking in the desert heat for four days.

Natives of the western Mexican state of Michoacán, they said they had been abandoned by the smuggler — known among immigrants here as "coyotes" — they had hired on the second day of their journey.

On the third night, the men said, they lost track of the 10 other people traveling with them in the darkness. And by the fourth morning, they had run out of food and water.

"Our government has forgotten about us," the father said. Then nodding toward his son, he added, "Each generation stays as poor as the last."

So I ask: why should the US government shoulder this burden alone? Is anybody asking what can Mexico do to stop the influx of poor, desperate people into this country? Or rather what can both the US and Mexico do to try to raise the standard of living in Mexico? Or to try to give the inflexible, hierarchical Mexican society at least some upward mobility? They certainly have agreed to keep wages substandard for Mexican citizens. Mexico is a tremendously wealthy country. The abysmal disparity between the haves and have nots could be gradually narrowed. Except no one wants to do that. And as long as things do not improve for the forgotten in Mexico, you can build a fortress around this nation, they will keep on risking their lives for a better life on this side.

On the Mexican side of the border, where remittances have become the second-largest source of income after oil, Mexican immigration agents said they felt helpless in stopping the immigrants, even though the law prohibits citizens from leaving through unofficial ports.

Bottom line is, the exodus is huge business for the Mexican government. I am surprised that Bush has not exerted more pressure on Mexico to curb the illegal immigration.

Hundreds of people, carrying backpacks and gallon jugs of water, filed into the desert on Thursday. Among them, were Karla and Miguelito, neither one of them more than four feet tall.

In a speech cut short so that the migrants could be on their way before sundown, Mario López, an agent in Grupo Beta, a Mexican government agency that seeks to protect the migrants, advised the men, women and children about the dangers of their illegal journey and advised them of their rights in case they were apprehended by the Border Patrol.

"This is a sad reality," he said. "We hate to see our people leaving this way. But what can we do, except wish them luck."

What can you do? You can start by trying to give them a better life.


  1. Anonymous5:01 PM

    If they want to be here, then do it legally. I'm fed up with the crying and wynin about how poor they are.thats not my fault. It's their own backyards fault. the scum needs to lay in their own waste and not ask ME to clean their toilets.Prez. Bush can lick my balls. He's WORTHLESS. WHEN WILL PEOPLE WAKE UP AND REALIZE THE PROBLEMS MEHEEKO HAS MADE FOR THEMSELVES.They need to kick their govornments ass and take CONTROL of the situation. But they're too SPINDELESS to do that.I don't feel sorry for their stinking asses and they can rot in hell.

  2. Anonymous, I wonder how much you're worth. With your abysmal spelling and grammar, you probably never even finished high school. You sound like you flip burgers at some foul-smelling joint and have bad teeth. Ugh.