“Not Sending Their Best”

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best,” said Donald Trump during his June presidential announcement. He continued, “They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we are getting.” I find these comments quite concerning, especially in the midst of my work, where I am involved with a great number of migrants, mostly from Mexico. Working with the people I have worked with so far this summer, whether it be on the farm or in ESL classes, Mr. Trump’s comments do not add up.

In January of 2015, I went on an immersion trip with CPS to El Paso, Texas and Las Cruces, New Mexico. The theme of the trip was border issues and immigration. In the week spent in the area, I realized that although there is a fence that divides Ciudad Juarez (Mexico) from El Paso (United States), the fence does not prevent the fluid movement of people between the two cities. Everyday, thousands of people come into the United States from Mexico and thousands of people travel into Mexico from the United States. Admittedly, the people who cross everyday are crossing legally, for the most part. Mr. Trump, on the other hand, is speaking of the “dangerous” illegal immigrants; these people are a different breed from the common, and often forgotten legal immigrants. Or are they?

According to Mr. Trump’s statement, the “illegals” coming into this country are rapists and criminals. He says that even the border patrol agents support his claim. However, I too had the opportunity to speak with border patrol agents, as well as numerous undocumented immigrants. Curiously, they do not seem to support Mr. Trump’s claims. Interestingly enough, El Paso has long been one of the safest cities in the United States, despite sharing a long border with Mexico. While it is impossible to get an official count on the number of undocumented immigrants living in El Paso, estimates tend to range in between 35,000 and 45,000. If all these undocumented immigrants are not raping and committing crime, what could they be doing? Well, according to border patrol and a number of undocumented immigrants that I was able to speak to, it is apparent that most people come to find work.

The primary system of labor across the border of El Paso in Juarez is the maquilas, which are production factories. A worker in a maquila typically earns less than 10 dollars a day. The United States is supposed to be the land of opportunity. Millions of people from South and Central America, as well as Mexico risk their lives crossing the border in order to find a better job to support their families.

Furthermore, according to the Immigration Policy Center, the number of unauthorized immigrants has risen from 8.4 million in 2000 to 11.2 million in 2010. Yet, the violent crime rate decreased, from about 500 reported offenses per 100,000 population in 2000 to less than 400 per 100,000 population in 2010. The study also shows that the crime rate has continued to decrease in major border cities like San Diego, El Paso, and Miami.

Mr. Trump’s comments are ill-conceived and, quite frankly, moronic. That is why, naturally, he is currently polling second among GOP candidates.

Nathan Cody ’16