Mexican Immigrants

The Migration Policy Institute states, “Mexicans represent the largest unauthorized immigrant group in the United States. As of 2012, 6.7 million (59 percent) of the estimated 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States were from Mexico.” For hundreds of years, Mexican immigrants have been coming to the United States in search for the American Dream. Sadly, agriculture has been an only option for these workers. When my dad turned 15, he left everything in Mexico including his family in hopes of searching for better opportunities. Till this day, I am heartbroken hearing stories my dad has told me of his experiences being a Mexican immigrant. From having to sleep in a tent in the middle of a strawberry field to having to move from state to state to find work, all at the age of 15. Occurrences like this have not only happened in my family, but also many other Mexican/Latino families who have crossed the border in hopes of achieving the American Dream. Immigrants having to separate from their families for years just comes to show the dedication they have to continue working to achieve a better life. No matter, all the stereotypes and all the hurtful accusations they receive, they still continue to work hard to provide for themselves and their families.

Mexican immigrants do not have it easy. Most immigrants just on their way to the U.S., don’t even make it alive crossing the border. Their lives are constantly in danger, and they live with the extreme fear of being caught by border patrol. When attempting to cross the border they are put in dangerous environments, such as walking for days in a desert, crossing rivers, crawling through holes with little air, jumping on trains, hiding in cars, etc. It costs money to cross the border and one usually has to have a bit of extra money to be able to survive for a couple of days. Men, women, pregnant women, children, new born babies, and old people are all struggling to survive crossing the border. Once they arrive to the U.S, most don’t have Social Securities nor VISA’s to be able to live a somewhat normal life in the U.S. They struggle with the language barrier of not knowing how to speak English and aren’t able to get a minimum wage job so most of the time their only option is to work in the fields where they are working in extremely harsh conditions. The Department of Labor has ranked field work among the most hazardous jobs in the country. Immigrants are exposed to horrible weather conditions, given extremely low wages for the plenty of hours they work, bad housing, no benefits, and get treated as if they weren’t human beings. It doesn’t even end there, child labor is also constantly happening in the fields. It’s difficult to know how many children are working, but according to the National Farm Worker Ministry, it is estimated that there are more than 500,000 children working in the fields under the age of 18. The data just comes to show that not only are immigrant parents struggling and fighting for survival, but also their children.

People often misjudge Mexican immigrants and believe every stereotype they hear. I know that not everybody likes Mexican immigrants for whatever reason, but I do suggest to those that they should get to know them before they judge them. For example, someone who has made headlines for saying a lot of untrue things about Mexican immigrants is sadly, our Republican front runner, Donald Trump.

Trump throughout his whole campaign has made several rude remarks towards Mexican immigrants. He once said, “When Mexico sends it’s people, they’re not sending it’s best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some I assume are good people.” This phrase alone targets the whole Mexican community, making people believe that all Mexicans are like this, when in reality it is a small percentage of those who actually do harm. A lot of people may agree with him, but Trump needs to know that what he is saying about immigrants is hurtful and completely wrong. When Trump said that all Mexican immigrants are criminals, he was definitely uninformed. According to The Washington Post, they found that first-generation immigrants are actually “predisposed to lower crime rates” than native-born Americans. Marc Rosenblum, deputy director of the U.S. Immigration Policy Program at the Migration Policy Institute, told The Washington Post that immigrants, have a huge incentive not to commit crimes. “Immigrants in general, unauthorized immigrants in particular, are a self-selected group who generally come to the U.S. to work. And once they’re here, most of them want to keep their nose down and do their business, and they’re sensitive to the fact that they’re vulnerable.” Marc makes a great point. Mexican immigrants just keep to themselves and try not to get in trouble with the law. Most come here and work extremely hard to not even get paid minimum wage, get treated like complete crap, and live with the fear of getting deported back. Most come here with the same reason which is to work, be able to live a better life, and provide for their families.

I believe it is important for everybody to get informed and change their views/opinions about Mexican immigrants. They are regular people just like you and me looking for a better life for their familiy and themselves. We need to fight for the rights of these immigrants and support organizations/laws that help these individuals. Overall, we need to become informed and aware of the world around us and what we can do to help Mexican immigrants live a life they deserve.