One of the exhibits at tunnel of opression last week at Occidental College was a simulation of what it is like to migrant to the United States without papers, and what is it like to be in the United States, workng without papers. The simulation consisted of actors playing out the treatment of undocumneted migrants by border patrol agents who they catch crossing the border and who they arrest at work. This simulation stood out to me because it demonstrated and created a visual of the danger, fear and inhumane nature of migrating to the U.S. without documents. Seeing the actors play out their roles made me think about how difficult people’s lives must be in order for them to leave everything behind and cross the border with fear of getting deported, robbed, murdered, dying, raped, etc. Crossing the border into the United States along with the other borders some migrants cross in order to get into the U.S. is a perilous and degrading task.
An article I read from October 17th, discusses the surge in child migration in the United States from Central America, especially from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Children are now migrating to the United States alone in more numbers than before. Sixty-eight percent more unaccompanied minors from El Salvador migranted to the United States in the past year and the number of unaccompanied minors from Guatemala is up 72 percent this year. The reason behind such an increase in minors migration is due to gang violence throughout Central America with heavy prevalance in the three countries stated above. Out of 151 children interviewed, 80 percent said the main reason they migrated to the U.S. was due to the violence in their home country.
Children throughout Central America are being targeted by gang members and asked to join gangs. If children refuse to give into and join a gang, they are targeted with violence and their lives are in danger. Some of the children interviewed said that if they stayed in their home country, they would “definitely die”. The only option for these children is thus migrating to the U.S., if they do not wish to join or be haunted by a gang.
It is quite disheartening to hear stories like this, where children can no longer live as children in this world. It is important for Americans to understand that there are clear and legitmate reasons why people migrate to the United States without documents. If put in the shoes of these migrant children, I am sure most Americans would do they same thing; migrant in order to flee severe violence and potential death. I call on the American public to think for a second about the reasons people migrant to the United States without documents, the reason above being one of many. I encourage the American public to put themselves in the migrants shoes and be empathetic towards those who are not as lucky as they are.