This fall all of The Link School students began to study immigration issues with Bobby. We started the topic in the beginning of September and have been doing different activities to expand our knowledge on the subject such as traveling to the border in New Mexico, meeting with boarder patrol, studying the topic in class, and reading a couple of books that explored what it was like for Latino immigrants to come up and work in the US and the risks and hazards involved.
As all of you know The Link School have been in Todos Santos, Mexico for the past couple weeks. We have been studying Spanish, working on our writing, surfing, hiking, releasing sea turtles, etc. but today we had the chance to speak with Esmeralda, a native here who has traveled across the border many times in her life. She told her stories with lots of passion and determination to get across to a better life – tried 21 times and was caught 15.
Her motivation was to provide a better life for her family. The income differences in Mexico are extremely different from the average payments in the United Sates. In Mexico, they get about $4 a day if it’s a minimum wage job (.50c/hour), as in the U.S. the average person makes about $80 a day. She explained it as “going from earth to heaven.” She got to tell us why, how, and what she strived for in the United States – to get paid more, having a better home, more food, more chances to have a better life for her daughter. She made these trips so that she could be able to make more money for her daughter so that she could grow up with the things she needed for school and for her health.
Esmeralda’s daughter is now 21 and is going to college for engineering and is able to speak fluent English. She has a very bright future because of what her mother (Esmeralda) did for her. It was so fascinating to hear her stories about when she crossed, how it was worth it, and what motivated her to take such a life-risking journey across burning hot dessert. Her final thoughts were that if there was a legal guest worker program in the US then there would not be the corruption on the Mexican side with smugglers and such and then Mexicans could contribute their work to the US economy without being treated like criminals. Taking in what Esmeralda said to us was truly inspiring and made me think a lot more about what really happens when they take the long rough journey.
Other photos from today: