Underground Railroad

1055 Words 4 Pages
Illegal Immigrants: Taking the Underground Railroad Above Ground The world is often viewed as an ever changing environment, however, history is known to repeat itself. African slaves in America, seeking better opportunities, cast off their literal shackles of oppression and fled to states that would provide them with a better quality of life. These slaves often utilized a system known as the underground railroad, as a transit way to a better life. While the railways African slaves utilized were not railroads in the literal sense, the illegal immigrants in Sonia Nazario’s book Enrique’s Journey ride along an actual rail network. This train, like the underground railroad, serves as a transit way for illegal immigrants seeking salvation from …show more content…
Bandits commit these acts unabashed because they know illegal immigrants are unable to seek aid from law enforcement. Thankfully, not all criminals within Mexico seek to harm illegal immigrants. Coyotes are a label given to criminals that are hired by immigrants to smuggle them safely into the United States. While these smugglers do not provide their services out of good will, their assistance with crossing the United States border is a great asset for illegal immigrants looking to make their journey safer. Nazario’s book once again gives an excellent example of criminals interacting with immigrants, this time on a more positive note. Enrique encounters the coyote Tirindorio while in Nuevo Laredo. Tirindorio offers Enrique a safe haven from bandits and la migra, immigration officers, within his shanty town. Tirindorio aids Enrique as he sees Enrique as a possible customer. While coyotes are ultimately looking out for their own interests, it is worth noting that these criminals do not actively seek to harm immigrants as bandits …show more content…
One of the most difficult portions of an illegal immigrant’s journey through Mexico is the state of Chiapas. Chiapas is home to citizens that see illegal immigrants as a blight and a danger to their way of life. Sonia Nazario quotes Hugo Angeles Frontera in her book Enrique’s Journey, “Chiapas is fed up with Central American migrants… they are seen as backward and ignorant. People think they bring disease, prostitution, and crime and take away jobs” (Nazario 79). When residents hold these negative views on immigrants it is easy to see that immigrants are not welcome. Many of the townspeople in Chiapas will actually report illegal immigrants to La Migra if they can. However, Chiapas’ negative view on immigrants does not reflect the attitude of all Mexicans. Olga Sanchez Martinez, the director of the Shelter of Jesus the Good Shepherd, is a Mexican resident that seeks to aid immigrants that are injured while attempting to immigrate into the United States. Martinez embodies good will. She feeds, houses, and aids migrants wounded by trains and bandits. Martinez, unlike the residents of Chiapas, see immigrants as victims of circumstance and not as a villainous

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