December 4, 2009
Immigrants had decide to come to the United states leaving behind their families and exposing their live crossing the border in seek of better work opportunities, freedom, and happiness. However, the reality is other. For thousands of years people have left their home country in search of happiness. Immigrants today still equate the country they are immigrating to with the Promised Land. While many times this Promised Land dream comes true, other times the reality is much different than the dream. Immigration is not always a perfect journey. Each year there are several hundred deaths along the Mexico-U.S. border for those attempting to cross into the United States from Mexico without authorization from the Federal Government of the United States. The number of deaths has steadily increased since the middle 1990’s with exposure (including heat stroke, dehydration, and hyperthermia) being the leading cause. According to the United States Border Patrol, 1,954 people died crossing the U.S–Mexico border between the years 1998-2004. In the fiscal year ending September 29, 2004, 460 migrants died crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. And in 2005, more than 500 died across the entire U.S.-Mexico border. The number of yearly border crossing deaths has doubled since 1995. (Immigration counter)
In the US, going to the supermarket can be quite the experience. We take a cart and go down the aisles while imagining future culinary experiences. We start at the vegetable and fruit sections. We grab some apples or some oranges; we examine them, check them for quality and if we are content with the products we place them in the cart for later purchase. We move on, perhaps to the poultry aisle, we begin to inspect the meat, its fineness, its cleanness, and once again content with our selection, we place it in the cart and move on. There might be one more stop; possibly some eggs, frozen foods, canned goods or any other product that a supermarket may offer to keep our stomachs and minds pleased. After we have selected the desired products, we proceed to the cash register, pay for our selections and we are on our way. Did we ever stop to think who made all of the wonders the earth has to offer available to us? Did we ever stop to wonder who harvested, picketed and packaged those products?
A single thought never came to our mind regarding the millions of workers that each day devote hours to the products we eat and enjoy. We barely recognized the fact that each passing day we purchase products that were literally brought to us by the labor of a person’s hard-working hands. We never thought of the poor living conditions, the maltreatment, and the injustice these workers endure to survive, along with their families, week after week. Never did we stop to think that these workers needed representation so that their most fundamental rights be; at the very least, protected.
It was not until I started this research paper that I witnessed the cruel reality behind the products we have the benefit of enjoying. Mexicans, Guatemalans and Costa Ricans workers, among others, migrating on a yearly basis to work at a U.S. farm, factories, and/or ware-houses for less that minimum wage and to live under poor sanitary conditions, one shack per twenty people with one bathroom. (John Carl, 255-256) Migrant workers that dedicate more than twelve hours a day to a farm, factory, and/or ware-house that provides no accessible toilets, safety equipment, or drinking water near their working stations. Migrant workers that have died of dehydration or become injured at the job and must either continue to work or go home because they do not have the benefit of workers compensation. Migrant workers that must return to work year after year because there are no other alternatives their home-countries do not create enough jobs for them to remain at home...
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