Devil's Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
So many in the US complain about illegal immigrants, while forgetting that their ancestors once came to this country uninvited. And most of those who come, now, really don't want to; they have family back home and many of them can't find jobs, because the American corporations have pulled out and left few jobs and those that are available are worse than minimum wage here. Sadly, many of those who try to come to the US die in their search for a better life for them and their families.
This exposes the selfishness that often comes with abundance that many US citizens enjoy. All of us can gain perspective by thinking about the ordeals our ancestors went through so that we could enjoy freedom of religion and the abundance available in this country. And, in truth, there are people in this country who are so far from that abundance that they can't even afford to see it on TV. It's not helping them to keep the immigrants out. They don't have access to the jobs the immigrants are out for. The world is screwed up enough without our complaining about people trying for a better life. Many who complain, however, try to lump all illegal aliens into one group: drug and human traffickers.
I'm reminded of the way German-Americans, Japanese-Americans were treated during WWII, and the way many people of Middle Eastern descent were treated (are still?) after 9/11. It's fear--xenophobia! And it is sad and disgusting. Especially when it is those who are simply trying to pursue happiness or a little less sadness, or even a little more to feed, clothe and house their family.
These immigrants often die in a horrible way, crossing Hell trying to reach the Promised Land which despises them for no other reason than they aren't from here.
Yes, the drugs and crime are often part of it--but, NEWS FLASH! drugs and crime have been part of the culture of the US for a loooong time and it does NOT depend on illegal immigration to keep going.
This book gives names to a few of the hundreds that try to find a better life, it gives the outsider a view into the lives of the kinds of people they are, how they live, how they want what everyone wants: happiness and the chance to take care of their families. I can't imagine anything closer to Hell on Earth than what all these desperate men endured and what lead to many of them to their deaths. Luis Alberto Urrea also shows how our jobs are not really in danger of being all taken away by illegal immigrants; he gives the whole thing context in which to come to our own ideas about border crossing and immigration.
If you are interested in what goes on on the Mexican-American border; in what often happens to the people who try to cross into a better life; or in ways all this is handled by our respective governments, and what that means for citizens of both countries; this is a good read to has a few answers, while at the same time putting a face on the brave and desperate people.
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Get a copy here:
The Devil's Highway: A True Story