Migration & Culture/Koptiuch
Nogales Fieldtrip Reports

Tova Driscoll

I thought that the BorderLinks trip to Nogales, Mexico was a wonderful experience, and I would love to do it again.  While we were there a lot of things that I saw and heard really seemed to affect me.  For instance the way that the poor have to live in the col9onias and also the way Grupo Beta is helping the migrants.

I found it very saddening the way the people of Mexico have to live.  They work and work and work and they don’t get anything for it.  If they are lucky they will be able to afford for their children to go to school and some food.  They live in houses that are made of cardboard and plywood and other scraps they can find to build shelter. They are forced to live on land that doesn’t belong to them and are expected to pay more money than the land is worth so they can stay.  The government tries to run them out of their houses made from their own sweat.  In having to live in these types of conditions who can blame them for wanting to come to America, “the land of opportunity.”  Here in America we don’t even make our prisoners live in the conditions that the Mexicans are being forced to live in.  Finally the conditions become too much for some Mexicans and they have to journey to the North—not because they want to, but because they have to.  This is where Grupo Beta comes into play.

Grupo Beta is a wonderful organization that I would say saves people’s lives.  When the Mexicans get fed up with living in the conditions they live in and decide to cross the border, Grupo Beta finds them and tells them the dangers of crossing.  Ignacia told us that they tell the migrants that they still have a long way to go—sometimes more than one hundred miles.  They tell them how people come out and rob migrants and some come out and beat or kill them.  They inform them that they have to go days without food and water in the hot sun, and that there is a good chance that they won’t make it.  They also tell them that they are unwelcome and nobody wants them in the United States (sad but true) and there are many dangers that await them in the US.  She said that most of the time she could convince people to go back with them.  I think this is wonderful but sad at the same time.  The wonderful part is that they are saving peoples’ lives; the sad part is that most of these people really have nothing to look forward to if they return to the place they left.

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