Border: Humanitarian Crisis

Isabella Goates, Pawprint Staff Reporter

The U.S. border has been a hot and controversial debate for an exceptionally long time. It seems as though it’s been here since the beginning of the United States. Right, and left-wing politicians battle over it regularly. One side believes we should be shutting down the border; the other believes we should be laxer.

Within the hazy screams and arguments between people of power, many people seem to miss the fundamental point about the border situation: That it’s a humanitarian issue. It’s affecting lives; people looking for better places to live and better places to be because they don’t have the resources there. 

The people coming from Mexico aren’t drug dealers and hoodlums. They aren’t stereotypically trying to take “our jobs.” If anything, they’re replacing the jobs that many people don’t want because they can’t get very good work without knowing the language. If a person’s job is easily replaced by someone who doesn’t even speak the language, then it will be pretty easy to find another job somewhere else with more education.

The people from Mexico are coming out because of the fantasy of America that spreads around the entire world. The U.S. is a place where burgers are free, and everyone wears new and shiny cowboy boots and works on farms, and comes back at the end of the day to a spacious home. 

Many people come to the U.S. looking for the golden opportunities that U.S. citizens like to brag about. But when they try to come over, they’re shut down and shoved back to Mexico. 

We welcome refugees from all around the world and Latin America, from El Salvador, Venezuela, Honduras Guatemala. Just not Mexico. Mexico is singled out because the people are coming “illegally,” but Americans won’t let them in any other way. So the only way for them to come in is to hire a coyote to take them across the accident-prone Devil’s Highway. Hopefully, they come to the U.S. alive and well to take care of their family, take care of themselves with a minimum wage job and limited knowledge of English, and an absolute denial of many resources because they’re “illegal.” 

The fact that many people don’t always understand when talking about the border is that it’s not safe to travel. It’s not a train taken to and from Mexico to the U.S. Immigrants don’t get to the U.S. easily on an airplane. They risk their lives, and not always to much avail, to cross deserts and rivers and die on the way. The jagged steel bars that former President Trump shoved into the border to create the promised wall aren’t stopping immigrants from coming in. They’re just making the death rates rise. 

On April 11, a woman died in a harness hanging from the same steel bars on the U.S. side of the border. She had been trapped, hanging upside down for a significant amount of time, eventually suffering from traumatic asphyxia, which led to her untimely demise. The only things she had on her were a backpack, socks, and a ladder. The only things that led her to the other side of the U.S. border.

This woman has joined the ranks of nameless migrants trying to cross the border. Within the last seven months, at least five people have died at these barriers alone. That doesn’t account for those who have died on the way—those who have died in the rivers and deserts and the terrain on the side of Mexico. 

“These types of incidents are not political. They are humanitarian realities that someone has lost a loved one in a senseless tragedy,” stated Cochise County Sheriff Mark J. Dannels in a Facebook post, “we have to do better in finding solutions to the challenges facing our border.”

The border situation, just like many political and humanitarian arguments, doesn’t have a definitive, logical answer, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s horrid, and there can be actions taken to help the entire situation. Enlisting more guest workers from Mexico would help reduce the number of people crossing illegally. Just having people get working visas and citizenship more efficiently would help Mexico and the U.S. economy. Educating people about the border situation would allow people to know what to do to know where to go. Immediately building a wall does not help people stop going into the U.S. It makes it more difficult, but certainly not impossible. By welcoming and being kind to immigrants instead of immediately labeling them when they cross the border, we reduce the untimely and senseless deaths scattered around the border. 

The border situation doesn’t have an easy fix. But by using empathy and understanding in our political systems, everyone can help solve the humanitarian crisis around the southern United States and Mexico.