Francisco Cantú’s depictions of the harsh landscape will not deter immigrants looking to escape the desperate and horrendous conditions back home.
It is those depictions, and how he describes the landscape, that make me think of this book as novel rather than a non-fiction book. This book sets a mood to get the reader to feel the border and makes you want to read more. Many of the immigrants leaving home would choose not to leave but their countries are in chaos and they are unable to survive there.
We as Americans also must remember that out country is responsible for some of the chaos created in these countries, and we have done nothing to ameliorate the effects of what we have wrought. We should educate ourselves, and can start by reading this book.
I had a little knowledge about our southern border by being a Housing Host for Performing The World, an international event co-produced by The East Side Institute and the All Stars Project. My guest was Sandra Paola Lopez Ramirez, who did a performance dance that she and her team created by interviewing women who cross the border from Mexico to El Paso . The performance was informative, and you really got a sense of who these women were.
Ms. Lopez Ramirez is an adjunct professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, and an immigrant from Columbia, and used her performance skills to have us understand the people we often demonize along our southern border. We need more of this kind of understanding.
I not sure what the right policy is, but it’s not what’s happening now. What’s happening now is cruel and doesn’t solve the problem.
I’m lucky I was born here, but I am aware that I am the product of illegal immigration. My mother’s father didn’t come through Ellis Island as my other grandparents did. He had a forged passport, and worked on a merchant ship from The Ukraine when the Russian Revolution hit so he wouldn’t wind up in jail for being in the Czarist Army. He jumped ship in Philadelphia, made his way to family in Brooklyn, and lived in the shadows until there was a general amnesty so he could become legal.
It’s time we had an amnesty again. We’ve had them in my lifetime, and we need to educate ourselves about immigration so that we can force the politicians to do something about it.
Maureen Albanese is an administrative assistant and activist. She lives in Manhattan.