Sunday, August 20, 2006

It's official.

I could never be a migrant. First of all, my intestines tend to over-dramatize ingestions of bad food. Second, after a couple of days of that drama, I almost threw up with dehydration and heat exhaustion on a 2.5 mile hike on the desert trails. In order to hike from Nogales to Tucson, I would have to make it 60-90 miles to a pick up point.

Michael and I spent one afternoon in Nogales this past week handing out burritos, water and directions to shelters to deportees. Their stories will break your heart, families left all over the place, separated. (Please note, Michael ate all the same food I did, but he can scrape food off the ground and chew it like gum and it doesn't bother his insides. A really annoying characteristic in a partner).

Ed was our tour guide on another day. With his GPS and knowledge of the back trails we hiked around Arivaca, AZ. Ed knows everything. He is the former dean of arts and sciences at the University of AZ and a geologist. He knows it all, but is not a know-it-all; the perfect wilderness companion.

He also explained how corporations load politicians coffers so that they will not clamp down on the companies for hiring illegal workers at less than minimum wage, force those companies to pay for health care benefits or retirement, while simultaneously promising US citizens that they will work to protect the borders by building walls to keep out the workers the companies want. Caught in the middle are a whole lot of folks desperate to feed their families, willing to risk their lives for even low wages (upon which they DO pay taxes, but are unable to collect any benefits since they are not citizens). One has to only try and walk the terrain of the desert for a couple of hours to realize what desperation really is.

Did you know that there is no LEGAL way for a Mexican to apply to work in the US? I wonder why that is not discussed by the news people who want to put all the blame on the immigrants rather than those corporations, builders, cleaning companies, landscapers, manufacturers, which are really just trying to get cheap labor and bust unions?

Anyway. I tried it. The trails. I couldn't make it. It's official.

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