Immigration from Latin America — An Untold Story

The Focus

My focal topic this semester is centered around immigrating from Latin America. As a International Business Major and an immigrant from Latin America, further study into this topic will allow me to broaden my skills and knowledge to give back to the country I am from with the degree that I earn.

A sketch of Guatemala, my home country.

My Interest

I am from Guatemala, a beautiful country right next to Mexico. Guatemala is full of beautiful places where you can do an infinite amount of outdoor activities. Our economy is based primarily on products that we export to other countries and tourism. Although Guatemala seems to be a nice country it is full of corruption, violence, poverty, and ignorance. At the age of 8 years old, I had to face this cruel reality. My dad decided to emigrate to US because there was no way he could give his family a better future earning two dollars per day. When he left for the states, things got even worse. My father, the sole breadwinner of our family, did not left a single penny to my mom. As a result, my mom had to work all day long 24/7 trying to make enough money for food. This lasted for a while, and I remember nights where my mom would not eat, just so we could. When my dad found a job in the states, our lives changed dramatically. We were not rich, but we had enough to survive without suffering.

With a stronger economic status and still the struggle of trying to get by day by day, my goal was to go to college and pursue a career to change the future of my family. It was around the same time that I also realized that my country was full of not only poverty, but also corruption. To say the least, despite having a dream to go to college, the harsh realities of my family and my country forced me to rewrite my goals; I focused solely on getting a high school diploma. However, I was consistently faced with extreme violence, which eventually forced me to leave. I am lucky to be where I am today, and I am well aware of the challenges that many Latin Americans face in their home countries. I look back at my life in Guatemala, and all I wish is to create positive change for the country that gave me the spine to sigue adelante. I also recognize that all the social problems that I faced in Guatemala are common challenges faced in countries all over Latin America, especially Central America. I am invested in learning more about the root of why our countries have reached this point and how to develop positive progress. Particularly, my blog will focus on researching immigration from Latin America and possible ways to best support them in their home countries to prevent immigration.

Embedded from Getty Images

Why is this important?

This issue is important for several reasons. Personally, I want to show people from Latin America that there is so much richness in our home countries, but it is because of a lack of education that we decide to immigrate to other countries instead of finding resolution for our own. Furthermore, I cannot disagree with this perception because it is also why I am here. It is a common reason why so many people immigrate from Latin America. This is evidenced by one of the most recent public deportation of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, who escaped her home country of Mexico twenty-one years ago. According to an article in the New York Times by Fernanda Santos called “She Showed Up Yearly to Meet Immigration Agents. Now They’ve Deported Her.”, Rayos left Mexico on foot and crossed the border into Arizona. It’s possible had Ms. Rayos been provided adequate education and support to overcome poverty, she may have never left Mexico. However, in impoverished areas in many Latin American countries, the quality of education and resources only further impoverishes and provides a disservice to citizens.

There are many reasons to advocate for a quality of education in Latin America, and there is also a significant reason to advocate for knowledge over ignorance in the US as well to better support Latin Americans decision to immigrate or improve their own countries. Prior to the election of Donald Trump, immigration from Latin America has always been put under a negative light. President Trump’s most infamous saying in regards to immigrants from Latin America is what ignited many immigrants (both legal and illegal) to stand up for who and what they really stand for. President Trump exclaimed during his presidential announcement speech on June 16, 2015, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their 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 one statement alone placed all Latino immigrants into a box and caused a national divide. It even caused immigrants to doubt their own existence in this country, and, for many others, to question humanity. Michelle Ye Hee Lee in her article in the Washington Post (“Donald Trump’s false comments connecting Mexican immigrants and crime”) explains the real facts to dismantle the misleading statement that President Trump has provided on Latin American immigrants and their desire to immigrate to the US. She includes facts such as “first-generation immigrants are predisposed to lower crime rates than native-born Americans.” Michelle’s article brings awareness to the misconceptions that have been spread about Latin American immigrants. It is crucial for us all to understand immigration as a whole, but specifically understand the immigration of Latin Americans is not at all how it is has been portrayed by President Trump. Ignorance — in this case — is definitely not bliss. Ignorance divides us in the most negative ways possible.

Works Cited

Lee, Michelle Ye Hee. “Donald Trump’s false comments connecting Mexican immigrants and crime.”The Washington Post. WP Company, 08 July 2015. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.

Santos, Fernanda. “She Showed Up Yearly to Meet Immigration Agents. Now They’re Deporting Her.”The New York Times. The New York Times, 08 Feb. 2017. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.

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