Final Reflections: Jenna

I learned so much from this trip. I came here thinking we would talk to two sides of one argument. But, we talked to more groups than I can count and there is not one issue, but several. One of my take-aways from this week is that there is a good and bad to every side of an argument. All the people we met have their own struggles and their way of solving them is not black or white. I think before the trip I had a much more negative view on the whole situation. This is mostly due to the media. The media's job is to tell a good story. A story about drug smugglers or border patrol agents shooting innocents is a “better story” than the agents that save people from the dessert, or the ones bringing water into the desert for migrants, or the migrants crossing the border to get a better job so that the can pay for their child’s schooling. Now that I have talked to many people down here about their story and what they think is the issue that needs to be fixed, I think I am more confused and conflicted than when I started.

The problem at the border is a lot more complex than I could have imagined. The hardest part for me to grasp is that all the people we met are the “good” people. It’s hard for me to not be able to say with certainty who are the “good guys” and who are the “bad guys”. Each side has some good and some bad. We talked to the migrants that are trying to cross the border to start a new life, or make enough money to support their family. At the same time, there are the drug smugglers, Cartels, and the bandits. There is no way to group all these people into one group because they are polar opposites. It’s the same with all groups of people. People are grouped together because of a single similarity, that does not make them all the same. Just like the border patrol, some go into the desert and save people from dehydration and death, but there is also the officer(s) that shot the innocent Jose Antonio. Every group of people has some that have made the wrong decisions.

I have come to the conclusion that the people are not in the wrong, none of them, even though some are misguided. The real issue is the law. The laws are so broken that people have to disobey them to do the right thing or to have a better life. A person shouldn’t have to risk their life just to get a job that pays minimum wage. Their other option is to wait up to 25 years to get a visa that isn’t even guaranteed to get them across the border.

When I get home I am going to have a discussion with my Legal and Protective Services class to figure out what we can do to help fix these broken laws. My hope is that as a united group that all have strong knowledge of the legal system, that we can take small steps towards fixing the border issue so that we no longer have to live separate from our brothers and sisters in Mexico.

- Jenna, St. Paul's, Natick