If you stand at the base of the Statue of Liberty, an American symbol of hope and freedom, you can easily read the words engraved in its pedestal, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." However, many people would say that those words have never been as ironic as they are today as America finds itself in a struggle over the issue of immigration. Many people claim that America is a nation that was founded by immigrants; so it is only fitting that this country should continue to grow and prosper through immigration. Other people, however, argue that America needs to maintain its borders in order to safeguard this nation from foreign terrorists, thus, only allow documented immigrants entrance while undocumented immigrants are denied that privilege. Although America-- a melting pot of diverse races and cultures-- is bordered by two different countries, it is primarily the U.S.-Mexico border that is heavily patrolled and targeted.Unfortunately, when it comes to the issue of undocumented immigrants from Mexico, those who are crossing the U.S. border in search of a better life become a percentage, a statistic, a number put on paper to make a point. It is more common to hear news stories linking drugs to immigrants than it is to hear media coverage over the physical risks that immigrants face such as being kidnapped, sold into sex slavery, raped by coyotes, dying by dehydration and being hunted by bandits and Minutemen. Too many Americans are also ignorant to the monetary payments that so many immigrants make to coyotes that range from $3,000 to $20,000. Therefore, it is important for Americans to understand both the monetary and physical price that many illegal immigrants, both young and old, pay in order to enter the United States.
By becoming more aware of the physical and monetary risks that Mexican immigrants face, hopefully more Americans will no longer see numbers, statistics, and percentages. Instead, by becoming more knowledgeable about immigrant struggles, Americans can cease the dehumanization of immigrants and acknowledge them as the mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters that they are. Also, understanding the dangers that immigrants face in their long and perilous trek to America will hopefully fill the hearts of Americans with compassion instead of hate and prejudice and further prompt the American government to design an easier and faster way for immigrants to go through the legal immigration process. Therefore, the time to shine light on what risks immigrants face is long overdue, and so is the need for Americans to recognize that these risks are silent screams that speak of the deeply rooted desire that Mexicans have to escape their country and enter America.
RISKS AT A GLANCE
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