The Immigrant Trailer Tragedy is One Story in 6,000

By Victor Landa, NewsTaco (3 minute read)  

An average of 428 people die each year attempting to cross the U.S. southern border. In the past 14 years 6,000 undocumented migrants have perished in the crossing. Those are the facts, and that’s the headline we should be reading in the wake of this past weekend’s immigrant trailer tragedy.

Ten migrants died in a sweltering trailer when it was 101 degrees outside and as high as 130 degrees inside the rolling metal box. The particulars of the story are well-known by now: as many as 100 people may have been crammed inside the trailer; the semi was parked at a Wal-Mart in San Antonio, Texas, and the migrants were discovered around 12:30 last Saturday night – nine of them dead, several in critical condition. By Monday a tenth migrant had passed away.

In the coming days police investigators will know their names, how they came to be in that trailer, where they’re from, who put them there. The names of the ten who died will be added to the thousands who have met a similar fate.

This is the U.S.-Mexico border at its worst.

It’s the dark underbelly of the thriving cross-national trade; of a border culture that seeps and cross-pollinates populations on both sides. It’s the same way on any border anywhere in the world – political boundaries are limits and where there are limits there are opportunities and people eager to game them for profit.

At its best the border is nurturing and creative, it’s interdependent, tolerant and neighborly. But you’d have to be a border dweller to know that.

The news of this tragedy will travel beyond the limits of the political boundary, to places where the border dynamic isn’t understood, where they talk of a border wall without saying how it’ll be built; where they talk of border security without saying when it’ll be secure enough.

And the tragedy will be politicized.

This isn’t conjecture, it will happen.

Someone will say that the migrants – and they’ll call them illegal – would be alive if there were a wall to keep them safely on the other side. Nothing could be more untrue.

The ten died because of the desparate need to traverse half a continent in order to find work, they died because of the promise of a job, because someone on this side would be willing to give them work and look the other way. But the blame will be placed squarely on the victim, because it always is, because they lack a platform and a podium from which to have their say, silent as it may be. They will be blamed for their own tragedy because it’s politically expedient to do so, because politics is the one place where heartlessness and self-righteousness can sit side-by-side.

The story will be reduced to the ten, but it should be the story of the 6,000.

It should be the story of the nameless thousands who die in quiet, sun-baked agony in the deserts of the southern border – year in, year out.

Eight undocumented migrants will die crossing the U.S.-Mexico border this week, a wall will only make their death more expensive. A border wall will only benefit the smugglers who will see fit to charge a premium – there’s a wall after all . . .

The migrants will keep coming as long as there are jobs for them, and there will be jobs for them as long as Americans want cheap produce along with their accustomed standard of living. America is one of those places where consumption and willful blindness to its consequences sit side-by-side.

Maybe that should be the headline.

Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Must Read

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED on massive scale to help reunite immigrant children with their families

Victor Landa July 9, 2018

This is an opportunity for experts on Latin America to get involved and lend their expertise. Please also share widely: URGENT HELP NEEDED ASAP!! Center for Human Rights and Constitutional […]

Is THIS the Year Latino Voters Finally Turn Arizona Blue?

Victor Landa July 17, 2018

PHOENIX — “Democrats hope demographic changes will translate into a win in November,” wrote The Nation magazine a while back. “Arizona, the second fastest-growing state … brimming with Latinos and Independents [is] […]

Appalachia has a booming Hispanic business and population — and its growing food scene is making an impact

Victor Landa August 1, 2018

From strip malls to historic downtown landmarks, buildings across Appalachia today are telling stories of a changing region. Former nail salons, once-stately banks and empty storefronts are beginning fresh chapters […]

Border congressman among highest funded by group running immigrant detention centers

Victor Landa June 22, 2018

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, has received $32,400 in political contributions from a company that operates immigrant detention centers — the second most of any elected official in the country […]

5 Women Who Are Mobilizing The Latino Community For The Midterm Elections

Victor Landa May 24, 2018

The midterm elections this year are a pivotal time for activation, regardless of what side of the aisle you stand on. The Latino vote particularly is being mobilized by some […]

Will The Latino Vote Tip Elections THIS Year?

Victor Landa May 29, 2018

In more than 20 years of Hispanic marketing, I’ve heard this line over and over: The Latino vote could tip the elections this year. It’s true the Latino vote has […]

Dieciocho, Episode 14, Memorial Day 2018, Latino Vietnam Veterans, Tomas Summers Sandoval

Victor Landa May 28, 2018

This is a special edition of DIECIOCHO. On this Memorial Day I talk with Prof. Tomas Summers Sandoval about his work collecting the oral histories of Latino Vietnam veterans. We talk about […]

Westside Honors Gala Celebrates Civic Leaders, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center

Victor Landa May 26, 2018

The Westside Development Corporation (WDC) spent Thursday night formally recognizing civic contributors. More than 500 people attended the City delegate organization’s ninth annual Westside Honors Gala at Rosedale Park. A Democratic political […]