photo by me
â€œThere is no way of measuring the damage to a society when a whole texture of humanity is kept from realizing its own power, when the woman architect who might have reinvented our cities sits barely literate in a semilegal sweatshop on the Texas- Mexican border, when women who should be founding colleges must work their entire lives as domestics.”
Long before we had decided to go to Puerto PeÃ±asco, I was outraged over the politics that are being raised up around the southern U.S. border issues.
I have lived in Arizona for more than twenty years. I have lived with migrant workers as my neighbors, my co-workers, and my friends. I consider the work they do to be invaluable to the economy of the United States.
I’ve wanted to write about the border issue for some time now but I could never quite find the right time. How did it fit in with everything else that was going on?
But this is the thing…
A giant wall will not keep people out if they want to get in bad enough (history has shown us that).
A giant wall only serves to create boundaries between the communication that needs to be ongoing between the nations of Mexico and the United States.
A giant wall creates an air of separatism and an “us versus them” mentality that is not conducive to being good neighbors.
Most of the migrant workers don’t want to live in the United States. They love their own country. That’s where their families are. That’s where their lives are.
They come to the United States to help their families escape the devastating poverty they face in their homeland. They send money home. They return home as often as they can. They, the majority, only come here to work, to earn money, to feed and clothe and house their families.
And I don’t see anything wrong with that. It is a symbiotic relationship. We need them as much as they need us.
But they should be paid a fair wage. And they should be treated well. And they should have benefits while they are here. And they should be able to go home without fear of losing their jobs, of being shot, of dying along the long desolate border.
And it is long and desolate.
As we drove through the hundreds of miles of desert yesterday, I considered the plights of the people trying to make better lives for themselves. Saguaros, chollas, ocotillos, organ pipes, scorpions, snakes, dry sand, hot sun, blowing winds, and no water are only a few of the perils they face as they try to cross the border. That doesn’t take into account steep, rocky mountains, the so-called “minutemen” who “guard” our borders, the border patrol, and the ever-vigilant inhabitants of border towns. Because, afterall, we don’t want them in our backyard.
Children sell tortillas, handmade toys, and washed windshields on the streets just to be able to eat. Children. Children the same age as my beloved niece.
They shouldn’t have to live life like that.
The politics that are happening right now affect real people. Children and adults alike are being told that they are not good enough to share in the wealth that we squander. They do not deserve it because they were not born in the right country, 50 feet across a manmade border.
Shame on us.