Skip

A helping hand
January 7, 2005 3:25 PM   Subscribe

Mexico publishes Migrant/Illegal Immigrant Guide A new comic-book-style guide for migrants produced by the Mexican government is designed to help immigrants cross the border illegally into the United States. (NPR) This is proving a little controversial. Deaths are common on the crossing.
posted by fluffycreature (38 comments total)

 
I'm sure some of this advice will prevent people dying from dehydration. Is that such a bad thing? Perhaps the US should just open up legal immigration / work permits so this becomes less common.
posted by laukf at 3:35 PM on January 7, 2005


i feel the same way about this as i do about educational outlets and needle centers for drug addicts: you can't stop it from happening, so why not lessen the amount of death involved in the process? sometimes simply providing honest answers to illegal activity is enough to prevent it.
posted by NationalKato at 3:44 PM on January 7, 2005


Well, personally, I've got absolutely _no_ problem with this whole thing. Still, I do think that the actual book, in its entirety, really splits into two parts:

1) The sections that you really have to be hard-core anti-immigration to object to--the portions that are basically "If you're going to cross the desert, this is how not to die." I mean, yes, many people do disagree with that specific premise, but I think you've got to be pretty damn hard-hearted to say "It's wrong to help more illegal immigrants _survive_."

2) The sections that are a whole lot more ambiguous, like "Here's how not to get caught once you're there". Like I said...myself, I'm not all worked up over this. But it does give a lot more ammo to critics when the book's got pointers about how to keep your head down once you're safely over the border.
posted by LairBob at 3:46 PM on January 7, 2005


*speechless*
posted by keswick at 3:50 PM on January 7, 2005


Um...so I take it y'all haven't seen this week's Something Awful Photoshop Phriday, huh?
posted by Bugbread at 4:18 PM on January 7, 2005


Um...this isn't Something Awful.

Or did you mean to say "Hey, why discuss the controversial issues surrounding this when we can all just go to Something Awful and laugh at a stupid and slightly racist parody of this?"
posted by vacapinta at 4:51 PM on January 7, 2005


The post suggests that the book increases crossings and thus deaths. Nothing could be further from the truth; the whole point of the book is to reduce deaths among those who will cross anyway. Thinking that less people will cross without the book is akin to imagining that kids, deprived of condoms, will stop having sex.

Those who would restrict the distribution of this book should be held liable for deaths that could have been prevented by it.
posted by luriete at 4:51 PM on January 7, 2005


No problem with this. If it stops loss of just one life it succeeds.
The antis all seem to be from immigration control groups who would probably rather a dead immigrant than a live one.
However how many of the wannabe immigrants get to read this I wonder.
Keswick - how do I interpret your *speechless*?
posted by adamvasco at 4:56 PM on January 7, 2005


Um...this isn't Something Awful.

Or did you mean to say "Hey, why discuss the controversial issues surrounding this when we can all just go to Something Awful and laugh at a stupid and slightly racist parody of this?"


Er, neither one. I was just surprised that I was the first person who had seen it at SA first, and kinda surprised that SA picked up on it faster than Mefi. There is no message implied past what I said, which is that I take it that y'all haven't seen this week's Photoshop Friday.

Sometimes a pen is just a pen.
posted by Bugbread at 4:58 PM on January 7, 2005


The antis all seem to be from immigration control groups who would probably rather a dead immigrant than a live one.

Not all people who are against illegal immigration hate illegal immigrants, and many sane people who are against illegal immigration would prefer to see sanctions on the employment level.
posted by dame at 5:11 PM on January 7, 2005


I just moved to Mexico from Canada with my wife (an American) and an employee (also American). It's wonderful down here... America needs to publish a guide explaining the reverse!!!
posted by glider at 5:17 PM on January 7, 2005


If there were no Latins in S. CA there would be no vegetable / fruit harvests and most restaurants / fast food outlets would have no staff. Gone would be the office cleaners, hospital cleaners, nannies and domestics. I am not saying these are all illegals its just supply and demand and if the local work force can't or won't fill the menial jobs available someone else will.
many sane people who are against illegal immigration would prefer to see sanctions on the employment level. care to expound?
posted by adamvasco at 5:23 PM on January 7, 2005


If there were no Latins in S. CA there would be no vegetable / fruit harvests and most restaurants / fast food outlets would have no staff. Gone would be the office cleaners, hospital cleaners, nannies and domestics. I am not saying these are all illegals its just supply and demand and if the local work force can't or won't fill the menial jobs available someone else will.

Or maybe those jobs would pay decent wages and businesses maybe would get used to slightly lower profits?

When someone won't do a job, that means that job doesn't pay enough, right? Illegal immigration is an externality that alters that wage curve against workers proper.
posted by metaldark at 5:37 PM on January 7, 2005


llegal immigration is an externality that alters that wage curve against workers proper.

If you're going to make that argument be sure to include U.S. companies that establish foreign plants. The point being, no, these jobs don't pay enough for anybody but to a large portion of the world its still better than what they have in which case you're arguing most of the planet is an "externality"
posted by vacapinta at 5:48 PM on January 7, 2005


Look at the babe on page 10. What's the deal with that?
posted by buriednexttoyou at 5:50 PM on January 7, 2005


Re "Babe" on page 10 - Its a comic -right?
Having grabbed the attention of the most probably male would be immigrant, said reader might then read the advise not to make any declarations or sign any documents in the English language unless they have a lawyer or representative from the Mexican Consulate present. ( The majority of illegals attempting to cross into USA are male).
posted by adamvasco at 6:16 PM on January 7, 2005


I'm strongly against illegal immigration, so feel free to go ahead and call me a racist and all the usual horseshit.
posted by keswick at 7:29 PM on January 7, 2005


Keswick: You have to wait for people to attack you before you get all defensive. You know the rules.
posted by Bugbread at 8:19 PM on January 7, 2005


OK Keswick now you have stated your position maybe you could tell us your thoughts on how you would go about "controlling" illegal immigration. Do you object to the Mexican authorities trying to stop their nationals dying in the desert or signing documents they don't understand?
posted by adamvasco at 8:31 PM on January 7, 2005


Thinking that less people will cross without the book is akin to imagining that kids, deprived of condoms, will stop having sex.

I couldn't agree more. But guess what, there are people who believe we should not distribute condems, or to be fair, they believe abstinence is the best method.

I think the comic book is an interesting idea in educating the populace on the safest method of getting here. But helping to avoid the authorities might be going to far. To be fair, and I didn't find a link for this or I would have posted it, AZ state officials are putting water stations in the desert.
I also think the prison sentences for the people that run services for taking the immigrants (mexican or chinese) into the country should be a lot tougher. In many cases the immigrants are nothing but cattle that might survive the trip.
posted by fluffycreature at 8:56 PM on January 7, 2005


I object more to Mexican authorities basically encouraging their citizens to break our laws. I don't really object to people illegally entering our country dying in the desert.

As for trying to stop illegal immigration, I'd suggest strengthening our borders. Yes, I know that's expensive. Naturally, that won't stop illegal immigration. You also need to eliminate the desire for people to immigrate to America illegally. Removing benefits and services for people here illegally is one step. Deporting illegals immediately is another. Continually granting amnesty for illegals is another thing that needs to stop. All that bullshit wink-wink-nudge-nudge-don't-come-here-illegally-okay stuff needs to go.

Making their homeland a more desirable place to live is another tactic that needs to be pursued.

Did you know three of the 9/11 hijackers were here illegally?

Why is it so difficult to immigrate to the UK, Canada, and most First World countries in general, but when we propose making things more stringent, we get jumped all over?

and please don't capitalize my nick.
posted by keswick at 9:03 PM on January 7, 2005


People who don't like the level of illegal immigration have only one place to look for relief: Congress.

This country has effectively decriminalized illegal immigration everywhere except the border and the arrivals lounge of the airport.

An online database of social security numbers matched to state ID pictures and numbers, and an agressively enforced criminal law requiring employers to verify all current employees and applicants against the database, and release those without a match (subject to some appeals process for errors), and to present their workforces immigration bona fides to any customer site where they send their workers, would end illegal immigration immediately.

Not only would no immigrants have to be left to die in the desert, they wouldn't need to spend a day in jail, or even be deported. They'd stop coming, and those already here would leave on their own accord (or stay, I suppose, to the extent they'd acquired sources of passive income which we permit non-greencard holders to own in any event).

I don't know that this is a good idea -- with a multi-trillion-dollar Social Security and Medicare deficit do we really want to be giving up our youngest workers who tend to have the largest families? -- but it certainly makes it clear that there's no need for any measures which are anti-immigrant, per se, regardless of how hostile one is to immigration.
posted by MattD at 9:07 PM on January 7, 2005


Making their homeland a more desirable place to live is another tactic that needs to be pursued.

YES.

Did you know three of the 9/11 hijackers were here illegally?

So...if we were tougher on illegal immigration there would have been no attack on 9/11. Do you really believe that?
posted by apis mellifera at 9:22 PM on January 7, 2005


keswick this comic isn't encouraging the illegals - it could be compared to a comic advising addicts not to share needles i.e if you're going to do it at least dont die.
As for building a bigger fence it doesnt work. The only part of your statement I agree with is making their homeland a more desirable place to live. Foreign based multinationals - most of them US must therefore up their wages in the sweat shops and maquilladoras south of the border and reinvest more of their profits in these poorer countries.
However it still doesn't answer the question of who is going to mow the lawn, care for the kids and run the low paid service sector of middle american life.
And by the way the 9/11 hijackers did not crawl across the dessert from mexico - lets not mix apples with bullshit.
posted by adamvasco at 9:23 PM on January 7, 2005


Making their homeland a more desirable place to live is another tactic that needs to be pursued.

Let them have Wal Mart!
posted by eatitlive at 9:27 PM on January 7, 2005


read "desert" ***ing keyboard!
posted by adamvasco at 9:28 PM on January 7, 2005


adamvasco
"And by the way the 9/11 hijackers did not crawl across the dessert from mexico - lets not mix apples with bullshit."

Aren't you being a bit hostile here? Yes, the hijackers didn't come from Mexico, but illegal immigration does not always mean "coming from Mexico". I think keswick is advocating tighter controls on all illegal immigration, not just immigration from Mexico.

apis mellifera
"So...if we were tougher on illegal immigration there would have been no attack on 9/11. Do you really believe that?"
He's not saying that the attack would not have happened. It's hard to say for certain how the attacks could have been prevented. But would some sort of more effective immigration system helped? I think it likely would. The attacks most likely would have happened regardless, but such a system certainly wouldn't hurt efforts to prevent terrorism.

"However it still doesn't answer the question of who is going to mow the lawn, care for the kids and run the low paid service sector of middle american life."
I don't understand the question here. If illegal immigrants were more effectively dealt with by the government, then these jobs would be filled by someone else. This may result in higher wages for these jobs as a result of the businesses no longer being able to manipulate and exploit non-citizens, and there would be some economic shake-up, but the market would adapt. Surprisingly, not all white people are middle class or rich. There are always people who need jobs, and will take them if offered.
posted by Sangermaine at 11:28 PM on January 7, 2005


Sangermaine, you say "The attacks most likely would have happened regardless, but such a system certainly wouldn't hurt efforts to prevent terrorism." As far as I can tell, that basically makes it a red herring. For example, switch "being illegal" with "wearing green".

If I argue that wearing green should be illegal, and that three of the terrorists wore green, and then followed it up with "even if green was outlawed, 9/11 most likely would have happened anyways, but such a system certainly wouldn't hurt efforts to prevent terrorism", then I'm basically tying together disparate topics just to work terrorists into the situation. It's the equivalent of pointing out that your neighbor is Saudi Arabian, like some of the terrorists, or that your boss's first name starts with the letter "A", like one of the terrorists.

And you say "But would some sort of more effective immigration system helped? I think it likely would. The attacks most likely would have happened regardless, but such a system certainly wouldn't hurt efforts to prevent terrorism." Which do you believe? First, you say a more effective immigration system would have helped. Then you say the attacks would happen anyway. Which do you believe, that it would have helped, or that it wouldn't have? (And I disagree that "not hurting" is equivalent to helping. Nobody says, "Yeah, I helped the tsunami victims by sitting on my ass watching TV and getting drunk.")
posted by Bugbread at 4:00 AM on January 8, 2005


me: many sane people who are against illegal immigration would prefer to see sanctions on the employment level.

adamvasco: care to expound?

I would like to see the people who employ illegals gone after, not the immigrants themselves. I really don't blame the immigrants--if I were in their position, I might well do the same thing; besides, many work very, very hard to support a number of people in their countries of origin, and that is pretty virtuous.

However, until all nations have broad immigration policies and I can take my skills and move somewhere that suits me more, illegal immigration hurts my nation by artificially depressing wages. I don't like that. So I'd like to see a mix of more legal immigration, a reverse of globalization policies that prevent nations from using the type of protectionism most first-world nations employed to get where they are today, and busting the hell out of people who employ illegals.
posted by dame at 7:08 AM on January 8, 2005


If there were no Latins in S. CA there would be no . . .

adam, are you referring to legal or out of status workers? I know that in Minneapolis Latino workers have the same effect as in Cali. But I wonder how many of the workers are actually documented? It just seems strange that so many businesses would hire undocumented workers, risking huge fines in the process.
posted by Juicylicious at 7:15 AM on January 8, 2005


There's really three sections here: survival, what to do if arrested (there are similar documents from the US gov about what your legal rights and expected behavior are if arrested in other countries) -- and the evasion portion.

Encouraging survival is one thing, particularly as Mexicans have a constitutional right in their country to not have restrictions on their movement and in any case suggesting that someone should die for not having appropriate paperwork is inhumane. And knowing your rights if arrested (including advice not to resist arrest or do things that will make law enforcement feel threatened) is good advice wherever you are.

How to avoid detection is another matter -- this is the substance of the controversy. A few wackos aside, most folks who have a problem with the guide are much less upset about "don't die in the desert" than they are about "try to evade detection by authorities".

Most Mexicans who come into the US for work, with or without a permit, would much prefer being able to find sufficient work at home to take care of their families and hope for a better future for their kids. Trying to prevent this on the "demand" side is not likely to succeed -- people will want to find better-paying work, and employers will want to have cheaper labor or, in some cases, labor at all (e.g. chicken processing plants where norteamericanos typically don't want to work anyway). If the Mexican economy and political system were improved -- and both are happening with time -- then there would be much less desire to cross the border illegally. Who wants to travel 1500 miles to another country to get manual labor if they can stay home, keep their accounting job, and vote for what they want to happen in their home country and culture?
posted by elvolio at 8:43 AM on January 8, 2005


Fucking beaners.
posted by driveler at 9:37 AM on January 8, 2005


I think the Molotov video I linked to above might capture some of the Mexican sentiment towards American immigration policies. It was very popular - 'Frijolero' won a Latin Grammy and the Video of the Year award from MTV Latin America.
posted by driveler at 10:11 AM on January 8, 2005


First off, this is a great breaking news post - multiple sources *and* previous stories for context. Bravo, fluffycreature. Secondly, anyone who thinks the Mexican government isn't trying to encourage immigration to the U.S. with this booklet should read to the end of the post's "proving" link, where the Arizona Republic notes this cute little tidbit:

The Mexican government produces a similar book aimed at Central American immigrants who try to enter Mexico illegally. The book covers much of the same information about legal rights and repeats many of the warnings. It even shows a group of migrants struggling to breathe inside a truck.

But that book doesn't give the same kind of safety tips on crossing the border or advise immigrants on how to live peacefully in Mexico.


Look, I'm about as "open border" as you can be on immigration issues, but let's not be stupid. While the anti-immigration folks are assholes for objecting to health tips like "avoid the worst heat," the Mexican officials are assholes for replacing the Central American brochure's picture of "a group of migrants struggling to breathe inside a truck" with a picture in the US version of migrants simply "climbing into the back of a tractor-trailer."

It was less than 2 years ago that 19 Mexican immigrants were found dead in just that situation in Texas. Don't tell me the obvious bullshit soft-pedaling that horror isn't worthy of angry complaint.
posted by mediareport at 5:35 PM on January 8, 2005


I agree there is something unsavory about this on the Mexican government's part. All those illegal immigrants may be a human rights crisis but the truth is that many of them send their earned money back to Mexico thus giving the Mexican economy a good and steady infusion of cash.

There are entire Mexican villages whose economic foundation rests on money shipped from relatives up north.
posted by vacapinta at 7:06 PM on January 8, 2005


And there are entire U.S. farms and businesses whose economic foundation rests on work performed by undocumented workers from down south. Which, of course, is why you won't hear much of a stink about this from the Bush administration. It's a relatively small fringe on the right that routinely gets into a lather over this issue.
posted by mediareport at 8:02 PM on January 8, 2005


The U.S. is not just a nation of immigrants, it is a nation founded by illegal immigrants who coerced the land away from its rightful inhabitants, the American Indians. I don't know that we have much moral authority to close the borders. And as the wonderful video that driviler posted puts it, "Now why don't you look down to/ Where your feet is planted/ That U.S. soil that makes you take shit for granted/ If not for Santa Ana, just to let you know/ That where your feed are planted would be Mexico." (Translation here.)

I think that Mexican and Central American immigrants are a wonderful addition to our country, legal or not, and am glad the Mexican government is encouraging the process.
posted by LarryC at 8:13 PM on January 8, 2005


Of course, I don't see a problem with this because I don't see a problem with 'illegal' immigration. So really I have nothing much to say, other then that I think everyone who really is opposed to these things, deep down, is a racist, or at least a language-ist.
posted by delmoi at 9:41 AM on January 10, 2005


« Older Wacky warning labels and the wacko's that need 'em   |   I wanna trash hotel rooms when I grow up!!!! Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post