Contextual Relevance: Latinx Diaspora Complexity

Complexity within the Latinx Diaspora

My family has participated as Jornaleros at one point or another, and I know the challenges of working day-to-day, especially in agriculture. Not only do I empathize with their living conditions, but I also recognize the severity of stress it is to live in an expensive and demanding place like New York. Why would anyone want to endure living in a stressful manner? But to respond, it is necessary to evaluate the history of oppression in the Americas from the last five hundred years. From colonization to the most current problems that extend beyond borders, better known as transnationalism.

The colonization of the Americas generated migration patterns that have pushed people across the globe. Centuries after catastrophic colonial wars, the new millennium continues to confront people with multi-layered forms of oppression constructed by power, dominance, and fear. For example, citizens of Venezuela are in protest for the inhuman way the government is treating them. Hyperinflation and an economic disparity are creating food shortages, increasing crime and poverty, as well as impacting health services. [1] Venezuela is in a state of crisis, but who is impacted the most? How do people overcome the intertwined social problems? What problems transcend beyond the country’s borders?

Places like El Salvador and Honduras can prompt similar questions. For both countries, the tension between government and people sit at the mercy of local gangs. [2] El Salvador, Honduras, and Venezuela are examples of countries that have become physical battle zones and is a cause for the migration of people. Leaving a country for another country, is a difficult, as loved ones are left behind, and the road to a new country is dangerous as many will have to face theft, hunger, rape, dehydration during their migrating journey. In some cases, migrants may benefit from organizations like Pueblos Sin Fronteras who are helping communities from Central American countries with shelter, food, basic needs, and transport. [3]

Attempting to resolve any problems of migrating people requires a focus on inclusivity and acknowledgment of history to allow for people to heal from the hurt from the designed infrastructures that have further marginalized them. Systems that reflect a substantial form of designed infrastructures can be found in US policy. For example, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 prevented the first ethnic group of people from entering the US. The 1965 Immigration and Naturalization Act is a policy that allows a change in demographics in the US. Despite the policy allowing more immigrants into the country, the policy is intended for superb immigrants. And the latest policy, the Patriot Act of 2001, grants authorities to search personal properties of immigrants without consent or knowledge. Because the policy is in response to the September 2001 attacks, authorities are given more autonomy and power in regards to surveillance and border protection.

All three of the policies have had an impact on US immigrants. Making designed infrastructures in US policy to be oppressive by continuing to reflect colonial characteristics such as power, dominance, and fear. As people are now being targeted, stories of dehumanization are documented and broadcasted through online portals. Therefore, the impact is forceful and dramatic to say the least.

 

Human Detainment for Profit

According to USA Today, 54,000 immigrants were deported by ICE within the first nine months of the 2017 year. A 43% increase of the prior year. In the same time frame, ICE has arrested over 28,000 undocumented immigrants without a criminal record, a 179% increase from the previous year. [4] “On average, taxpayers spend $90.43 to detain a person in a private immigration detention facility, compared to an average of $72.69 in a municipal jail.” [5] The current US administration requested for the 2018 fiscal year a $1.2 billion increase to support the detainment of immigrants. The country already spends $2 billion a year. In America, there are 250 detention facilities and close to 200 of them are for profit. [6] So who is benefiting from the detainment of immigrants? In a study by the Center for Migration Studies, 62% of the detainment facilities are run by private companies and Correctional Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO group taking the largest ownership. [7] Both companies initiated the foundation of building detention facilities in the 1980s and have political influence over people in Congress. [8]

According to the US Census, there are approximately 327 million people in America, and 11 million are undocumented immigrants. [9] The outskirt cities like Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, Miami and New York have densely populated cities with the most undocumented immigrant populations. [10] As of 2011, New York City accounts for over 3 million immigrants where 32.1% are from Latin America, 19.4% are Caribbean, and the rest are non-Hispanic. [11] With the growing population of citizens and immigrants, what are the challenges and opportunities of hosting conflicting citizen binaries? What is the justest immigration reform or reconstruction that the American country needs? The longer the reform or reconstruction is left unresolved, many people’s lives will be at the mercy of policy and government officials.

 

References:

[1] Al Jazeera, “Venezuela’s Crisis Explained from the Beginning,” Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, March 23, 2018, accessed April 6, 2018, http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/4/venezuela-happening-1701412114045595.html.

[2] Crisis Group, “El Salvador’s Politics of Perpetual Violence,” January 22, 2018, accessed March 3, 2018, http://www.crisisgroup.org/latin-america-caribbean/central-america/el-salvador/64-el-salvadors-politics-perpetual-violence.

[3] Pueblos Sin Fronteras, “Home”, accessed May 6, 2018, http://www.pueblosinfronteras.org.

[4] Alan Gomez, “Trump Plans Massive Increase in Federal Immigration Jails,” USA Today, October 17, 2017, accessed February 6, 2018, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/10/17/trump-plans-massive-increase-federal-immigration-jails/771414001.

[5] Endisolation, “Immigration Detention Map & Statistics,” accessed February 6, 2018, http://www.endisolation.org/resources/immigration-detention.

[6] Ibid

[7] Unlocking Human Dignity: A Plan to Transform the US Immigration Detention System, PDF, Washington, DC: Committee on Migration, 2015.

[8] “ICE Immigration Detention: What You Should Know,” YouTube, May 29, 2015, accessed October 3, 2017, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twEDTFFBsuY.

[9] “US and World Population Clock Tell US What You Think”, US Trade with Haiti, accessed March 6, 2018, http://www.census.gov/popclock.

[10] City Lab and University of Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute, “America’s Leading Immigrant Cities,” City Lab, September 22, 2015, accessed October 6, 2017, http://www.citylab.com/equity/2015/09/americas-leading-immigrant-cities/406438.

[11] Arun Peter Lobo and Joseph J. Salvo, The Newest New Yorkers: Characteristics of the City’s Foreign-born Population, PDF, New York, December, 2013, http://www.1.nyc.gov/assets/planning/download/pdf/data-maps/nyc-population/nny2013/nny_2013.pdf.

 

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