When I first read about the protest against the Arizona law I remembered the days preceding my immigration to the U.S.
In 2003 when I started filling the papers at the U.S .Embassy to get my Fiancée visa I had to go through a long process; first I had to declare where I spent the last 10 years of my life, provide witnesses and police records from the places where I spent more than 6 months, then I had to go through a thorough medical exam and get the missing vaccination to prove myself healthy enough to come to live in the U.S. I also had to pay an amount of money that wasn’t a big deal for the lawyer I was, but could have been a life time savings for another person less fortunate than me.
Last week when I read about people protesting to support the presence of undocumented migrants, I was surprised, and I said to myself: “cool, I didn’t have to go through all the hassle to get to the U.S. then! In case of deportation a person unlawfully present on the U.S. soil could use million of protestors to rally behind them…”
Then I read about the profiling, then the racism, then the story exploded to become a problem between race and ethnicities, Nazis and banning Cinco de Mayo…
Things start going out of control and my confusion got bigger and bigger…this is when I decided to write this post so I can clear things in my head and give some perspective for an American citizen who might be as confused as I am. Please keep in mind that this post is not written by a democrat or a republican but by a foreign lawyer with a previous experience defending migrant workers in the world.
The real tragedy in this chaos is the inhuman situation of the undocumented Mexican migrant workers. It is about being poor, unskilled, unprotected and vulnerable to the worse work condition and abuses.
The most vulnerable category of workers in the world is the unskilled workers, and if you add to that the fact that they are undocumented it make their condition even worse. When you are undocumented, you cannot ask for minimum wage, your kids cannot go to public schools and you certainly don’t have social security or any kind of health coverage. You could be paid $1.50 an hour and have no right to complain, you can loose a finger or even your arms by doing a dangerous task, no one will care for you because you are invisible to the eyes of the authorities. It is even worse in other countries: In the Middle East for example, the growing problem of Asian migrant domestic workers seems to be getting worse with the economic crisis hitting the Arab Golf countries. For years Asian domestic workers and unskilled construction workers have been tortured, killed, raped and very few institution seemed to care, not even their own countries who are just focused on the national income and the money they bring to their families every year.
The problem of illegal migration and abuse of migrant workers is not only a U.S. problem, not at all; it is a wide growing problem in our world. The UN has created several conventions to protect migrant workers and their families, and is trying hard to make countries ratify the conventions and implement them.
To go back to our national problem. You cannot protect Mexican migrant workers by supporting their illegal situation. Migrant workers should have papers, this is the only way to keep them safe from abuse. We should help making their situation legal and provide resources for those million of people who helped build this country. Very few people seem to raise this question, too busy solving personal issues with racial and ethnic hate feelings?