I recently had the opportunity to talk one-on-one with an illegal Mexican immigrant.
I was in Cincinnati attending a conference and staying at the world’s largest hotel chain, Best Western. Interestingly enough, all of the housekeeping employees at the hotel were either Russian or Mexican immigrants. While I did not get the opportunity to converse with the Russian employees, I did talk extensively with a Mexican named Pedro. Pedro was a 23-year-old who came across the Mexican border at Tijuana/San Diego about four years ago. He had traveled by foot 15 days from his small village just about 10 miles southwest of Acapulco. To say the least, I was more than intrigued. I was hoping to get the chance to use my school-learned, broken Spanish, but to my surprise he spoke almost perfect English.
He tells a most harrowing and sad story of his incredible journey across the Mexican border. Pedro talked about the almost abject, impoverished conditions in his small Mexican town. He said that he worked in Mexico for about 1000 pesos a month, about $70 U.S.
He talked about saving for a couple of years just to buy a bike. He finds it tearfully difficult American politicians can't seem to understand the plight of the 12 million-14 million illegal Mexican immigrants who live in America. To my utter surprise, he spoke about what he considered forms of economic racism American corporations were perpetrating against the Mexican people as they continue to use them for cheap, slave-like labor; while paying no or little taxes to use their country to produce American goods. He blatantly blamed the American government, along with the Mexican government, for creating such deplorable conditions in his country.
When questioned on the issue he is definitely resigned to stay here in America at whatever the cost. He even says he feels like he is really now an American. While he will continue to visit Mexico to see his extended family, he says there is no living to be made for his class in Mexico. Of course, I asked, why not just get a green card? He talks about how difficult it is, especially nowadays with the rabid attention being focused on Mexican illegals by the U.S. Congress. He would have to go back to Mexico, stay for six years and then apply for a visa, and still could of course run the risk of not being given one. So he has decided to stay and take his chances, besides he says if they come and get him, like others he will just find a way to come back