Tuesday, May 8, 2012
The Other Side of Immigration
This doc visits rural parts of Mexico and interviews many people about their views and opinions about immigration, especially as it relates to the U.S. The culture in Mexico is as you expect--poverty, corruption, political nepotism, lack of economic growth.
People who come from a mostly agricultural or livestock background are finding it harder to compete with the U.S. and globally. Due to corruption etc., citizens are not aware of or unable to get subsidies or government help, even though money is available. Many as you know cross to America illegally--many of them time and again--despite the risk and cost and emotional distance from their families.
Some of the people interviewed are smart to what's going on but pretty much everyone feels helpless. Two men have particular views--one says Mexico has a disease in that the people don't help each other; many countries "take care of their own" but in Mexico it's every man for himself. Another man quotes JFK's "ask what you can do for your country" which ironically I was also thinking of when watching this film.
A couple of the interviews are with people who tried to gain political office to make change, but were unsuccessful--a woman who lost by a small margin due to vote fraud, another man who got a business degree in Chicago and returned to Mexico.
A husband/wife is also interviewed. It is apparent that men such as this husband often cross the border to find work only when they are in desperate economic means and hope to return to their families after making a small amount of money, and less to gain a long-term illegal existence in the U.S. The wife talks about her six children who have crossed over but are afraid to cross back due to being caught at the border, which is increasingly dangerous.
I thought it good that the filmmaker decided to show things solely from the Mexican side and with those who have been affected personally, rather than from people who are already in the U.S. Data and research show even though lots of money and effort is put into discouraging immigration, legal or otherwise, it is at an all-time high (which, I believe, has changed since this documentary was made--I believe immigration is now stagnant due to many border states making it less welcoming for immigrants to live here). Views express that if the U.S. would put that money directly into boosting Mexico's economy, it would be a better use of funds and more economically and socially rewarding for both sides.
I often wonder about Mexico, and the U.S.'s treatment of it. Our government is willing to help out many other third world countries but there is one on our doorstep it seems to ignore (not to mention poor and disadvantaged American citizens who need help here too). I guess for us there is no benefit we get from Mexico, no resources to exploit; this is a short-sighted view.