When touring the Mexican side of Nogales, a train passed us sporting the Union Pacific logo and the slogan “Building America”.
This was a train filled with assembled car parts headed for America. This got me thinking who is building America?
I am not building anything, but I sure do consume.
While in “both” Nogales I have had to face the reality that I play a role in the problems surrounding migration. I am not free from fault. I partake in American successes on the backbones of those across the world. I am not living in an isolated nation. I can no longer turn my back on the connectedness of the world I am a part of. Someone else is building an America I get to reap the benefits of.
Isabel Garcia, a public defender in Tuscon, Arizona, truly hit the nail on the head in her interview. That America is not ready for the reality of a world without migrants. A world where we have to pay higher prices for labor. A world that would inconvenience us. She talked about being grateful for migrant labor. I am not yet sure what this gratitude looks like?
However, I do understand what it is not…
Gratitude is not deporting these migrants.
Gratitude is not treating them less than human.
Gratitude is not purposefully separating migrants from their family during the deportation process.
Gratitude is not streamlining the immigration criminal justice process.
Gratitude is definitely not building a wall.
I was always raised to be grateful for my immigrant background. To appreciate those who came over on a boat and accomplished the American Dream, so that my life is easier. It is about time we start appreciating both the migrant’s plight of the past and the migrant’s struggle today, as it is immigrants who build America.