08 November 2005

An immigrant's life

For illegal immigrants, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Life is degrading, even traumatic. Most illegal immigrants stay in groups, making up their own campsites, before venturing out to build shacks as shelters. Food is scarce. Water even more scarce. Sanitation is a serious problem… leading to diseases… and death. The weather is merciless. And, there’s always the lurking fear of getting caught by border patrols. Beaten, tortured, raped. Deported. For illegal immigrants, life sucks!

Only while reading a
paper called ‘The Life of Illegal Immigrants’ on the Internet did I find out aspects of an illegal immigrant’s life which I had no clue of. The paper, which draws heavily on Leo R. Chavez’s 1992 book, "Shadowed Lives: Undocumented Immigrants in American Society," about lives of illegal immigrants in the United States, explains, for instance, that the illegal immigrant’s border crossing can be viewed in three phases: separation from the known social group or society; transition; and incorporation into the new social group or society. Each phase has its own idiosyncrasies and challenges… to be overcome.

In the end, it leaves something to think about: "What we must realize is that people can have a common goal and still have their own identity, therefore retaining their culture and still having a sense of patriotism to the United States."

I wonder if the US is listening.

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