The photo above was taken by Mexican border authorities at the Guatemala border. The trucks were carrying more than 500 migrants, apparently headed for the United States.
Trucks often pass through large x-ray machines in order to quickly see what’s inside and instead of drugs, this time people sitting and standing with arms raised in crammed conditions were photographed. The x-ray is stunning, horrific even, and haunting, and should make Americans pause.
These migrants were seeking to cross illegally into our country in order to find employment. But because our immigrant system does not match demand to supple, migrant workers have to sneak in illegally. This entails journeys that are at best incredibly burdensome, involving long tracks in suffocating trucks and then crossing miles of desert in unbearable heat. It is also, naturally, extremely perilous: hundreds die each year trying to cross the Mexican-American desert. Migrants, if captured in Mexico, face abysmal prison conditions. And they can also fall pry to gangs who rob what they are carrying.
Americans businesses need labor, not cheap labor as is often assumed, but actual labor that simply is not available in the United States. South of the border are millions of people willingly to die the thankless hard work. Instead of creating a guest work visa program where workers can come and go from their country of origin and work legally in America, we allow businesses to behave like criminals and decent people who want to work have to cross risks before they can.
America needs an immigrant policy that is not dumbfounded in every way and does not match reality, regrettably plain old nativism will not fix it soon.
And do not expect anything from the cowardly and opportunistically Democrats who have not said anything about immigration in years, but only now – gearing up for his reelection – is Obama raising the prospect of immigration reform knowing full well that this close to election nothing will happen but hopes that by claiming he is dedicated to it that Latino voters will get in line.
But Americans should pause when they see the above photo but it looks too much like this:
An image of how African slaves were transported into the country. Of course, this analogy can only go so far since slaves were forced to work against their will while the Hispanic migrants volunteer to even pay $7,000 to smugglers to come to America.
But is this really the image we want for 21st century America when it comes to desperate workers who just want to make a living?
A Tip of the Hat to the Cato Institute blog which first recognized this photo and similarity.