We’re almost there, she thinks. There’s dirt in her hair and hardly any food in her stomach. They’ve been traveling for weeks now. She aches to stretch her legs, she begs to stop and rest. Her parents warn that she may not be wanted. She may not have friends, but at least she will live.
She is a caravanner. Her and over 5,000 asylum seekers from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have travelled over 600 miles in hopes of finding safety. Coming from some of the most dangerous cities in the world, these families are travelling through rural Mexico in hopes of making it to the land which they are told is free.
With every spare orange a generous Mexican farmer hands them along the way, their hopes grow. Every city they pass, they are reassured that they have almost made it. The closer they get, the clearer the blockade is visible. The more strained the days get, the more aware they are of the long legal process ahead. But that is not what concerns them. That is not going to stop them from fighting.
These families, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers want hope. They want jobs. They want peace. They know the stereotypes associated with their existence better than anyone else. They know the ridicule that awaits them but despite that fact, they walk on. They accept the near spoiled orange and they keep going. Because what they want is stability and what they have to offer is skills.
“It’s the land of the free,” they have heard.
“We’re going to the greatest country on Earth,” they chatter amongst themselves.
“Let us in,” they beg.
But they are hit with teargas instead.
Along the way, they got hit with sickness, racism and persecution from civilians of the border city, Tijuana, which they are attempting to cross peacefully at only to be violently rejected by their only source of hope.
It is understandable that over 5,000 people cannot be immediately accommodated by even the greatest of countries, but there are better ways to handle issues concerning human beings. I am not asking that every asylum seeker be granted citizenship, I am asking for empathy and hospitality.
They are not criminals, they are international workers.
Let them in.