Migration & Culture/Koptiuch
Nogales Fieldtrip Reports

Coryn Anderson

Migrants Are People Too

Why would anyone want to stay in a country that is so poor that they canít even live a decent life or feed their families? Personally, I canít say I blame the thousands of migrants who try to cross the border illegally and come to the United States. During our trip to Nogales, I was able to see how many Mexicans live and I can now say that I have a better understanding as to why they yearn to come to the U. S. Most Americans view the idea of illegal immigration as "out of control" but I think we need to stop focusing on what to do to deter migrants and to start thinking about what we can do to help them. The "inflation, hunger, and violence" that Mexicans face on a daily basis is horrific and I believe that it is cruel and inhumane to subject anyone to such a life (Chavez, 2001). Migrants are people too and they deserve a better existence.

Ignacia from Grupo Beta told us that she was very sad that her fellow citizens felt they had to leave their home in order to have a better life. That is why Grupo Beta is dedicated to helping and protecting migrants within the community. Ignacia realizes that the Mexican government and the economy have to change before the citizens will want to stay in Mexico. Ignacia is hopeful that President Fox will eliminate corruption, help restore confidence in elected officials, and create more jobs, which is exactly what Mexico needs. It is evident in the recent changes in Grupo Betaís organization that the Mexican government is already changing its policy. The fact that Grupo Beta is now a helping agency rather than a police agency is a start.

Thanks to Soco, our tour guide, I was able to get an idea of what is really important. Soco had our class do an exercise at the Casa de la Misericordia that has really made me think. Soco asked us to put six different necessities in order of importance. The necessities she gave us were clothes, food, shelter, liberty, religion, and education. As the six people fought over what they each believed was important I began to think about what I thought was the most important to me. We all agreed that food is the most important item. Personally, I believe it should be food then shelter, liberty, education, religion, and clothes. At the end of the exercise, Soco made a good point. If food is so important then what about the people who donít even have food. At that point, it all made sense. If you donít have food then of course youíre going to be desperate enough to do whatever it takes to feed your family. Even desperate enough to leave your home in search for work in another country.

Americans describe immigration with negative words such as danger, threat, fear, and invasion (Chavez, 2001). Americans are so busy looking at the negative aspects of immigration that we forget what these hard working people do for us. Immigrants work the jobs that Americans think they are too good for. Itís almost as if we want them to scratch our backs but we donít want to scratch theirs. Itís too bad that Americans are so preoccupied with who the social serviceís money will be spent on and job rates that we forget about the well being of other humans (Chavez, 2001). That is why I think our day in Nogales was so important. I believe that our trip was beneficial because our class was able to see what Mexicans have to deal with on a daily basis. I believe that because of this trip I was able to look at a Mexicanís life from their perspective and it has helped me to understand what they go through. This trip has made me more sympathetic to immigrants and their families.

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