From: Louisiana Reader [Email him]
We've heard a lot lately about how illegal immigration to the U.S. has dropped due to, among other things, the sorry state of the U.S. economy. Some even say with fewer going north and more heading south, we've reached zero net migration.
The famed Pew report looked only at migration patterns for Mexicans. But what about Central Americans? These migrants have a much tougher time than Mexicans on their trek north.
Yet they keep coming. If you think the flow of Central Americans heading to the U.S. has eased lately, you might want to talk to the citizens of Coatzacoalcos, in the Mexican state of Veracruz. In mid-June Hurricane Carlotta wiped out a major railroad bridge used by Mexico's "Train of Death."
But word of the disaster had trouble getting south. Now, thousands of Central American immigrants are stranded in communities throughout southern Mexico. Many simply can't believe their path to the American Dream has been taken away.
Apparently some of the local Mexicans began to express anti-immigrant sentiments. You know—they're filthy, crimes going up, etc. In the face of this local xenophobia, the Central American illegals organized a march through Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz to protest their treatment. See Marchan migrantes; demandan "paso libre", El Sol De Mexico, July 10, 2012
Some highlights: (my translation)
"Hundreds of immigrants, stranded in the city for 22 days, held an unusual protest march starting from the 1st Avenue bridge, where they've been staying since their illegal entry through the southern border and their journey on the roof of a train called 'The Beast.'So, countless thousands are still heading from Central America to the U.S., and, from the Mexican perspective, the sooner they get out of Mexico the better. The train is scheduled to be back running by end of the month.
The migrants took to the streets and walked from the south of the city to Independence Park, where they complained that local authorities were demonizing them and blaming them for increased crime in certain cities where they've taken refuge after train service was suspended. They demanded free passage to continue their journey to the northern border and the United States.
The migrants strongly rejected the actions of the Mexican Immigration Services and the Veracruz state government, which include humanitarian aid and the demand that they be returned to their native countries.
The immigrant problem was made worse when the railroad bridge at Loma Bonita collapsed, causing thousands of illegals to walk the streets asking for help from locals in order to survive and continue their journey.
They noted that nothing can stop them from pursuing the American Dream. To pursue the American Dream, they were asking for free passage.
The migrants expressed anger at discriminatory labels used against them, causing people to view them with distrust or fear. They stated they needed not only physical, but also moral, support in their attempt to improve the living conditions for their families. They did not want to be treated like criminals.
They expressed their gratitude for the toilets and sinks, along with the hot food that the city had sent them daily, but stated this type of assistance should be permanent because the migrants are always passing through."
“Louisiana Reader” visits the Rio Grande area two or three times a year. See previous letters from him here.