Skip to comments.Abandoned: The Mexican Orphans Of The Rush To Cross US Border
Posted on 05/20/2006 7:57:26 PM PDT by blam
Abandoned: the Mexican orphans of the rush to cross US border
By James Hider in San Andreas Nicolas Bravo
When Alexis Silva Carreno was nine years old, his father left Mexico to find work 800 miles away across the US border in Houston, Texas. Alexis was devastated and begged his father not to go. It was not until his mother also headed north that the boy's entire world collapsed.
"She didn't even leave any kitchen utensils, she took everything, everything. She left us to be street kids. She forgot her children," he said, sitting dejected in his classroom at the end of a day at school in the village of San Andreas Nicolas Bravo.
Alexis Silva Carreno plans to head north: 'Sometimes I want to die'
As long as migrants can earn in an hour in America what they earn in a day back home, few observers expect President George W Bush's plan to use troops to patrol the Mexican border seriously to stem the flow into the US.
Meanwhile, Alexis's grandmother has struggled to control the lonely teenager and his two brothers as they fell in with others dabbling in drugs and alcohol. Then, a year after disappearing, his father returned with a new wife.
Alexis's family is one of hundreds of thousands torn apart by migration as more and more Mexican women follow their husbands to the United States, desperate to earn enough to give their children a better life as Mexico's rural communities struggle to compete in the global market.
Now even their abandoned children are heading north in increasing numbers. "Migrants used to start leaving at the age of 30, now they are starting at 14 or 15," said Adriana Cortez Jimenez, who runs a number of aid projects to try to slow the migration.
The effect on Mexico's future is potentially devastating. "What's the future for our communities? It's difficult to see. We are losing our people, we are losing our culture," said Mrs Cortez Jimenez.
Since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on America, tighter border restrictions have made it too risky for parents to return regularly to visit their children. In most cases, a telephone call, perhaps once a month, is the only contact.
At 14, Alexis has concluded that his best option, too, is to risk the deadly journey north, illegally crossing the border in search of a better life. He plans to go next month.
"I want to go to school up there or work. To make money so my father will be proud of me," he said, knowing that 400 migrants die attempting the crossing every year.
"In the desert I've heard it is really bad. I've heard there are people who will even steal your water." But, he added: "Sometimes I just want to die anyway."
If Alexis were to stay in his home village, he would probably spend his life doing back-breaking work in the rice paddy fields, where a field that takes two months' work from planting to harvest earns just $50 (£26). So far, there has been no viable government plan to create alternatives that allow the peasant population to earn a decent living.
Every year, about 400,000 poor Mexicans leave. And together those working en el otro lado (on the other side) pump about $20 billion back into the country, providing its second largest source of revenue after oil.
In San Andreas and other villages like it, children are living on moneygrams sent by their absentee parents - and becoming accustomed to a quality of life they could never achieve from the rice paddies. But as contact with parents fades over the years, their only hope of maintaining their standard of living is to head north themselves.
Margarita Sanchez Ramirez is the last remaining shred of her family in La Cantera Uno, a remote village in north-central Mexico. Standing in front of her breeze-block outhouse, the sad-eyed, grey-haired matriarch points at a row of nine US car registration plates nailed to the wall which chart the travels of her seven children, now scattered between Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado and Oklahoma.
"It's hard, very sad," said the 55-year-old, wiping tears from her eyes. Mrs Ramirez's 14-year-old grandson is already talking about leaving school and heading north, dreaming of the life he watches on the cable television that has reached his village - thanks to cash sent by distant parents.
Close the border and deport all illegals!
Mexican women abandon their children and follow their husbands to the US so they can give their children a better life? Someone please explain to me how abandoning your kids is good for them?
Deport the illegal aliens, do it for their children!
Answer: " ... dreaming of the life he watches on the cable television that has reached his village - thanks to cash sent by distant parents."
Would YOU abandon your children?
Let's see... leaving your children with nothing, so you can make more money... returning to your family with a new wife... not being proud of your son unless he breaks the law... stealing someone's water in the desert...
Add these to the list of jobs that Americans won't do.
The British...just reporting stories from Mexico Americans don't want to report.
I've heard Michael Savage say at times that the illegals are going to save this country because he's seen them together in public as families. He has said the best of them cross the border, my feeling has always been the most aggresive cross the border, as this article proves out.
We're going to be seeing a million of these sad stories from Old Mexico , especially if the House blocks "immigration reform". They will be designed to make the Congressmen fall into the "compassion trap", or to villify them if they hang tough. They need to hang tough.
Isn’t this an American website and .... aren’t these people crossing the American border? We’re well aware of what’s going on.
Wow. I can’t believe I’m still alive to read this story posted in 2006. Wonder when it’s all going to blow up. It’s nearly time....