Family Values at the Border

Joseph Nevins

The need to embrace and protect families is often invoked by leading members of the political class here in the United States. The U.S.-Mexico divide is a laboratory of sorts to see how this supposed love for the family plays out in practice.

An article in Monday’s New York Times reports that Mexican border towns are increasingly filled with deportees who are long-time U.S. residents with spouses and children in the United States. These familial ties compel the migrants to take ever-greater risks to rejoin their loved ones in el Norte. It also leads many of them to stay in Mexican border towns until they succeed, sometimes effectively trapping them there for years (see video below). Often, the deportees live in very difficult circumstances, and are under frequent threat from criminal gangs, as well as local police who see them as a potential cash source.

 

 

Meanwhile, deportation of a parent does long-term damage to family members—especially children (who are often U.S. citizens)—who remain in the United States. For the children, the damage is financial, emotional, psychological, educational, and behavioral.432Calexico/Mexicali. Credit: Mizue Aizeki

The cruelty of deportation shows how little Washington values families. The efforts of migrants to overcome their separation—the family reunions that regularly take place at and across the actual boundary walls and fences being a particularly moving example—exemplify "family values" at their very best.

 


For more from the Border Wars blog, visit nacla.org/blog/border-wars. And now you can follow it on twitter @NACLABorderWars. See also the May/June 2011 NACLA Report, Mexico's Drug Crisis; the Jan/Feb 2009 NACLA Report, Taking on Policy in the Obama Era; and the May/June 2007 NACLA Report, Of Migrants & Minutemen.

Subscribe to NACLA, Today!

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Adds captions, from the title attribute, to images with one of the following classes: image-left image-right standalone-image
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
8 + 3 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

Like this article? Support our work. Subscribe or donate