Circles

Trip Start Aug 15, 2012
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Trip End Aug 15, 2013


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Flag of Mexico  , Morelos,
Friday, March 1, 2013

This blog post is a reflection on the week I spent in Arizona learning about migration through visits to the border patrol station and chats with different organizations in both the United States and Mexico. For a full list of the places and people we visited check out this blog post and this google map, thanks to my fellow Mexico YAGM Casey! Read on here for my reflection...

As I stood looking at the wall for the first time I couldn't help but think how massive it was. I couldn't imagine climbing or jumping over it. I began to understand why so many people the border patrol picked up had broken, sprained, or strained legs. Visiting the border in Arizona put many things in perspective for me. The journey to cross the border is harsh. The wall forces people to cross through the desert which is hot hot hot during the day, causing dehydration and sunburn, and cold cold cold during the night, providing risks of hypothermia.

My own family is a family of immigrants, we speak about and celebrate our Finish and Croatian heritage often. My trip to Arizona taught me that I will never fully understand what it means to leave behind a life of family and friends to face the unknown and journey on in hopes of something better. There is a wall, a literal wall made of many things such as fencing and recycled landing pads, and it prevents people from coming into our country. And yet, it doesn't prevent people from trying.

Family is by far the most important part of Mexican culture. Children live with their parents until they themselves get married. People take care of their aging parents by having them move in to their house, not to nursing home. It is rare for people to move away from the city they were born and raised in. Young adults normally live at home while they attend college. Mexicans have roots, strong roots. When you toss a machismo culture in the mix things like immigration to the United States start to make a whole lot more sense. When family is the most important thing and you can't find work to support your family, to feed, clothe, or send them to school leaving them behind to journey to another country doesn't seem so crazy. But it does seem even more challenging one might imagine. Migrants leave behind everything they know, navigating another culture, another land, without a support system. Crossing the desert isn't the only obstacle. 

Everyday I see articles posted on facebook and twitter about immigration reform. I honestly do not know the solution to immigration, even after spending months and months thinking about it I still don't know. But, what I do know is that migrants go through a lot to try to make it to another country for more opportunities for themselves and their families. As we engage in this debate that is so divisive for so many reasons I encourage you all to remember that immigrants and their families are human beings with roots and families and dreams and hopes for a better life.

Music is a big part my life. I have playlists upon playlists; some that make me happy, give me energy, give space to think, remind of home, and many more. Passenger is a new band that I discovered just after returning to Mexico from Arizona. The song Circles allowed me the space to think about immigration and humanity. I encourage you to take a listen.

In peace,
Colleen

PS: If you would like to read some reflections from the other Mexico YAGMs click the name to go the blog posts!

Aaron
Alicia
Casey
Catie
Kristen

 
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