Migration & Culture/Koptiuch
Nogales Fieldtrip Reports

Silverio E. Rodriguez

The ride to the border can be expressed as a reverse migration of the haves to the desperate.  We left an area of pavement everywhere to a situation of economic dependence on the ability to provide the pavement here and in Mexico.  The life of living only day to day without hop is crushing the people without or with jobs in Mexico.  There are few means to support a life that could equal ours  here in Arizona.  The means to achieving even some parity to our shelter is made by those who have to move North.  North to the border where the maquiladoreas are, North to Arizona where the crossers are settling, north is where the migrants hope to make a future and turn around the chain of desperation.

The picture I fear most is the ability for maquiladeras to water their own lawns but their neighborhoods canít even get any piped water in.  The strange sense of why canít they support the neighborhoods versus the ability to have nice, fenced, clean factories built with paved roads and adequate electricity.  The direct foreign investments made in Mexico can improve the country.  In contrast to the commercial is the need to invest in its people to stop forcing migration from the interior to the border.

The corporate predatory practice of abandoning the U.S. (a.k.a. the migration of capital) for cheap labor on the border only exasperates the condition of migrants.  It means the labor force on the border is now dependent on the U.S. economy for job security.  If the economy becomes weak, the factories lay off workers.  The workerís pay check stops; leading to the temptation of crossing over the border.  The consequences of crossing over desert terrain with children are not priority, as told by the Beta Group in Nogales.  The migrants who cross the "tierra del diablo" have an almost non-chalant attitude.  They know its dangerous, its hard, its extreme weather but it does not deter them.  They are trying to make living by escaping their beloved Mexico.

Migrants cease to become travelers to transform into settlers in Arizona for opportunity for their children and economic prosperity.  The schools and education, which might be disdained here by Americans, are a boon to immigrants from Mexico.  If the U.S. followed Mexicoís practice of only half days of school, we would definitely change it by investing more into education.  Observing even our own apartments that look shanty-like is nothing like what we saw in our hostís Ďhouseí, if you can call it that.  The migrants are looking towards an infrastructure where housing, education and employment are high.

If you are faced with a life of struggle or prosperity, in the views we saw in Nogales, separated by a fence, a desert, a language adapting to Spanish, the choice is not so hard is it?


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