Border Links

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        When I was sitting in the bus getting ready to depart for Nogales, I was a little excited and nervous because I have never been outside of the United States before.  One thing that comforted me was the fact I was going with friends and other classmates of mine.  One thing that I was looking forward to was the different lifestyle that the people live in over in Mexico.  Another part of the trip I was looking forward to was visiting the United States Border Patrol headquarters to get a perspective of illegal immigration and to see everything that they do to solve that problem and to get an insight on their views regarding a few issues.  Staying with a family in Nogales was very eye opening to say the least.  It gave me a great appreciation for what I have here in the United States.

            When we stayed in the house in Tucson, the first thing that went through my head was here we go I am going to hear more stories about Border Patrol this and Border Patrol that and how everyone should be able to cross willingly without any interference, and a little bit was about that.  What really had caught my attention were the facts about the militia group who disguise themselves as government agents and take the migrants hostage and kill some if not all of who they capture.  I feel that whoever are responsible needs to be punished by the full extent of the law.  Shooting people as if they were some type of game is inhuman and inexcusable. 

          0  The part of the trip I was looking forward to the most was visiting the Border Patrol.  In class all we heard about was how bad the migrants have it and how it was Border Patrolís fault.  I really got caught up in all the different type of technology and different types of vehicles they use to get the job done.  All of the manpower that they use to try to keep our borders safe, I was very intrigued by it all.  What amazed me the most about our conference with the agent was when he said that the last agent killing was back in 2001.  That seemed like a very long time to without having more agents killed.  Now, donít get me wrong, I am pleased to hear that only one agent has been killed in the last few years, but if the borders are as dangerous shouldnít there be more fatalities than that.  I know how good our police are, but we constantly hear and see that a police officer was killed in the line of duty.  What puzzles me is how accurate is their data in that regard.  Would they alter any information regarding that topic?  What impressed me the most was the state of the art technology they use to apprehend the migrants.  The portable tower they use, the numerous of inferred cameras that they use and the easiness it is to control that type of equipment.  How a field agent could control it, and then the agents at the headquarters could then take over control.  The numerous ground sensors they have and the quickness in which they can respond to those motion sensors is really impressive.  The one thing that baffled me the most was if a migrant who is injured and taken for treatment at a hospital can just be treated and released without giving out any information or not even having to pay for the medical expenses.  As a taxpaying citizen that information angers me a little.  Someone who I will assume is illegal, can be caught treated, and released in our country is upsetting.  One thing that didnít surprise me was when the agent was asked about why migrants donít just go through the legal channels to citizenship instead of risking their lives and money and attempting to crossover illegally.  His response was that it took very little money, about $100, which was agreed upon by BorderLinks, but he led on to believe that acceptance would be immediate instead of numerous years like BorderLinks said.  I thought that he would have had some data to give us that would be of better use to us to see how long it would take an average person to get his/her citizenship in the United States.

            The part of the trip that had affected me the most was visiting the families and their homes.  I couldnít believe the conditions in which they raise their families in.  I mean to hear one person or a group of people say how bad the conditions are is one thing, but to actually see it for myself was another thing.  0The home I visited was about the size of my bedroom.  There was no carpeting, no water system, no a/c or heating units, and the roof was of sheet metal with holes in it.  I could only imagine living in that room during the winter months with the snow and rain.  I couldnít even think about trying to sleep or eat during a rainstorm and have to deal with trying to stay dry.  One thing I was pondering over was how often during a big storm would a part of a house or all of a house be destroyed?

            When we visited the maquiladora I was expecting far worse than what I had seen.  Every worker there seemed to be happy with what they were doing and the conditions and benefits were great.  They got medical insurance for their family, 25% of eye care covered, and education was covered as well.  I couldnít think about working for 8 or 9 hours in a day and only make about $9 for the entire day.  I was trying to think how they can survive on that amount.  Letís say they work for 9 hours a day and 6 days a week.  That would be $54 a week.  Then you throw in the $.80 a day for transportation and the $4 for breakfast and lunch and that is down to just over $46 to pay for rent, clothing, food and there children.  I just donít know how they continue on like they do.  The thing that surprised me was that they were happy with their lives.  When we were driving and walking along the streets I would groups of people just hanging around chatting with smiles on their faces.p1010301

            I can take from this trip a real appreciation for the live that I live and the things that I have in my life.  To see the big contrasts in our lifestyles was very alarming.  The thing I noticed the most difference in was driving and also the condition in the roads.  In the U.S. there are very few roads that arenít paved and over in Nogales there were very few roads that were paved.  Those ones that were paved needed some major work to them because they were so many holes in them.  Throughout the entire trip I couldnít stop moving around in the van.  Overall, I would say that the trip was extremely beneficial to me and I was very happy that I did go on the trip.

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http://www.borderlinks.org/bl/index.htm