Mexico’s migrants gaze north – and no ‘racist’ law will stop them

In the frontier town of Nogales, few of the locals believe Arizona’s harsh new anti-immigrant laws will prove effective

Paul Harris
The Observer [UK]
2 May 2010

Rogelio Cuvas is just the kind of migrant that the state of Arizona would like to keep out. A 39-year-old shop worker, he was deported from the US last week after spending 10 years in Los Angeles. Now he finds himself in the ramshackle Mexican border town of Nogales, just over 1,000 miles south of Phoenix, where lawmakers have passed draconian anti-immigrant legislation.

Yesterday tens of thousands of Hispanics marched through American cities in protest at the new laws, which instruct the state police to demand the papers of anyone they suspect might be illegal. A nationwide campaign is under way to boycott the Grand Canyon State. Pop stars such as Shakira and Gloria Estefan have publicly condemned the new laws that have appalled liberal America.

Cuvas is unworried. In LA the manager of the shop where he worked reported him as an illegal and he was promptly swept up and dumped back over the border. But he has no intention of going back to his home province of Jalisco on Mexico’s Pacific coast. Nor is he planning to stay in Nogales for long, where there is little work and no prospects. “I’ll stay here for a month or two. Then I’ll go back to the US. There is nothing for me here,” he said.

In Nogales, there is fierce anger at a measure that many see as naked racism. But there is also a stoic realisation that the law will not change the situation. It might make life more difficult for legal and illegal immigrants in America, it might humiliate and stoke fear, but it will do little to stop the flood of immigrants to the north where the lure of jobs and an escape from poverty are more powerful than the threat of discrimination.

The article continues at the Guardian/Observer.

Read also, “A carefully crafted immigration law in Arizon,” by Byron York of the Washington Examiner.

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