sasha 
Member since Sep 22, 2009


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Re: “Chico and the Monkey

The article "Chico and the Monkey" presented a completely inaccurate portrayal of immigrants, labelling them "drug smugglers, thieves and bandits," when the majority are in fact families crossing to reunite with their providers. His use of terms like "alien" dehumanizes people who are so desperate to feed their families that they risk their lives crossing the desert to find work. It is not drug-smuggling that has skyrocketed, but the number of women and children crossing, risking their lives and safety in order to join their husbands and fathers who are working hard at menial jobs, without insurance or protection, in support of them.

That crossing the border is NOT AN EASY FEAT is an important point, one that the author makes light of. People risk death of dehydration, starvation, being robbed by bandits or by Border Patrol, sickness,

long term detention without any definite end or short term detention without any humane standards, just in order to cross. And even after they've crossed, the danger of being caught and detained indefinitely continue to follow all people without documents. The risks they face are clear indicators that they don't cross for trivial reasons. People like us, they don't seek to be stigmatized as "aliens" and live without protection- who would? They are trying to escape a daily reality in which there is no way to feed their children and themselves, in which there is no work. But somehow, many people in the US continue to deny the right of people from south of the border to escape living conditions we would not tolerate for ourselves.

The human rights abuse that occurs at the border has been condemned throughout the world as a violation of the Geneva Convention international standards. Far from being given a "sandwich and a free trip back home," over 90% of people caught by Border Patrol are sent to shorter-term detention centers where NO standards for their treatment exist. Countless numbers of sick and dehydrated people endure several nights in cold cells and are denied food, water, and needed medical care. Often the centers are packed so tight with people that there is not room for everyone to lie down to sleep.

After being shipped to Nogales, the border town that is far from home for most, they are offered by a government agency there a half-paid ticket home. The offer stands useless for most as by that point people have lost their little money to bandits on the trails or to Border Patrol.

What responsibility do we have towards our neighbors who grow up in an economy so crippled by US involvement that crossing the desert and risking death of dehydration, sunstroke, and detention is still preferable to poverty and starvation in the cities they come from? Their status should be refugee, not illegal.

Posted by sasha on 09/22/2009 at 11:42 AM

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