Sunday, June 6, 2010

Enrique's Journey - Me trying to understand Illegal Immigration - Final Installment

Well this is the final post on Enrique's Journey. It has helped to write about it, and clarify it in my head.

Enrique is now in America. It has not been as he or his mother would have thought or wished it would have been. He is angry, and still fills abandoned, or that his mother will again abandon him. She is frustrated over his lack of respect and the fact that she still has one child (her daughter) in Honduras. Enrique also has a daughter back in Honduras. His girlfriend gave birth after he left.

To me this situation is humanly hopeless. I say humanly because if God were allow to govern peoples live; if they gave him control, we would not have these issues. But because we are evil all the time (Genesis 6:5), this situation will continue to go on. Below are some things that struck me:

  • Illegal migrants are able to get driver's license. Enrique was charged with driving while impaired. In the book it talks about how nearly 4 times as many Hispanic drivers as non-Hispanic drivers in North Carolina have been charged with driving while impaired. I find it amazing that he could get a drivers license while not being here legal. And when charged all he had to pay was $1,000 and tell the judge he was sorry. No deportation.
  • These immigrants can buy fake ID's, and then find work. (Here again it is not the legal way, but illegal)
  • In Honduras if you are a woman and over the age of 25 or 28 you are no longer considered for many jobs. Middle age women have 3 options: Washing and Ironing clothes, cleaning houses, or making tortillas at home. These jobs pay $50 to $90 per month. A family needs $350 a month minimum.
  • A quote from Enrique to his aunt or cousin: "You think that filling our bellies is the same thing as love." Enrique was basically on his own from the age of 5. At this point in the book also Enrique moves away from his mother. She says "Her live is in Florida with her "de facto husband", daughter (who was born in US) and sister. "You never acknowledged me as a real mother. I have to work at my life with my husband now". When did Enrique, or any child like him, have a mother?
  • Despite the increased danger, more migrants are making the attempt. Between 2001 & 2004 , the number of Central American migrants detained and deported each year by Mexico nearly doubled, to more then 200,000....During that same period the number of children detained by the U.S. Border Patrol while entering the country illegally and without either parent nearly doubled.
  • Through out Latin America, even in traditional societies such as Mexico divorce and separation are increasingly common.
  • The countries they leave benefit in different ways: Lower unemployment being one. Also the money sent back to the families brings $30 BILLION a year to Latin America alone. The cash flow makes up a whopping 15% of El Salvador's gross domestic product and is Mexico's second largest contributor to the economy after oil. Do you think they want it to end?
  • A quote from a Honduran migration official: "Keeping the family together-even if they are poor-is more important then leaving and improving their economic conditions."
  • Each year the US legally admits nearly a million people. Another 700,000 arrive illegally.
  • 36 million residents of the US were born in another country; nearly a third of those live in the US illegally.
  • Enrique and his mother disagree about the impact of this on the US. Enrique says that were he an American citizen, he would want to curtail illegal immigration. He admits he does not contribute no taxes on what he earns. Lourdes says: "To her immigrant labor is the engine that helps drive the American economy. Immigrants do the work no American wants to do. (Lazy us)
  • The immigrants notice a lack of work ethic in Americans. The native born workers take alot of breaks and work slower. The immigrants want to keep their jobs so they work harder.
  • The Center for Immigration Studies, which seeks reduced immigration levels, found that in 2002 nationwide, households headed by illegal immigrants used $26.3 billion in government services and paid $16 billion in taxes.
  • Those hardest hit by the influx of immigrants are disadvantaged native-born minorities who don't have a high school degree.
  • The Labor intensive industries in America use migrant labor to help their bottom line. (There's the greed thing again. It's not what's good or what's right, but what will make them the most money.)
There is so much more I could quote or mention from the book, but I realize this post is already getting long, so I will end with my conclusion.

  • I am still very much against "illegal immigration". No matter the circumstances that one faces, several wrongs do not make things right. With the choices these people are making there is destruction left in the wake.
  • Even though my heart grieves for these people, I cannot condemn their method. It would be tantamount to saying that those who live in poverty anywhere can rob, sell drugs or kill because they live in impoverished conditions.
  • This issue will not be away or be solved, because of greed, incompetence and apathy. Also no one is working for the greater good, but for themselves. The rich need the migrants for cheap labor, and they have become such a fabric of our society that truly our economy would suffer if they weren't here.
  • In the end the biggest thing for me is it's just WRONG. Period. It's illegal. Follow the proper channels. Come to America, come the right way, not the dishonest way. Come and make the most of what America has to offer, but do not slink in her in the cover of darkness to take what would be given to you freely, if you came the right way.
O.K. I think that's it. At least I feel better about getting it off my chest.

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1 comment:

Mari said...

I agree with your conclusion. Wrong is wrong. This does give me more understanding though and it makes me ashamed of us for our part!