When I was deliberating topics for my case study ethnography report I was inspired to examine some one very close to me who is "undocumented", someone whose experience I have seen first hand, some one who has affected my life and understanding of immigrants with his situation; my partner, Mario. This class has exposed us to many writings on the subjects of migration, immigration and emigration. I began to compare the concepts and information in the readings to Mario’s personal situation. I was curious if his answer would be "In search of a better life" when asked, "Why did you come here?"
By offering personal insights and experiences regarding his/our situation I would like to discuss issues directly related to the expected learning outcomes that the course Migration and Culture had put forth in the beginning of the semester, including: patterns, transnational events, understanding why people migrate and impacts on the host and home communities of the migrants.
I had crated a semi-formal interview with Mario and asked questions that might help me and others understand the issues and processes involved with being a migrant (the how and why people migrate). I wanted his point of view on why people decide to migrate. I wanted to know what he feels his fears, frustrations, rights and responsibilities are in his role as an undocumented, illegal person. I also wanted to add my specific concerns relating to having a partner of this status.
The how and why of Mario’s journey is probably not that different than other Mexicans who have made the journey north to the United States. He lived in Nayarit, a state in Mexico along the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 miles south of the border. He lived with his mother, father and eleven brothers and sisters. His family was adequately supported by his father’s salary as a policeman. His father’s death put his family in a desperate situation. Although some of his brothers and sisters had already moved out and began families of their own, his mother was left to support eight children with no benefits from any Mexican welfare agency or life insurance policies. The remaining family members decided the only way enough money could be made to support them was for some one to go to work in America. With no "papers" or legal documents one of Mario’s brothers made his way to Los Angeles, California. He found a job working in a garment factory that historically hired undocumented workers at low wages. At that point his family became one of the recipients of the $5 billion dollars of remittances that Mexicans received in 1991 according to the chart presented in the article; Remittances, US Latino Communities, and Development in Latin American Countries in Migration World News Vol. 28(5) in 2000, written by B. Lindsay Lowell, Rodolfo de la Garza and Mike Hogg.
His brother began to regularly send home $100 a month. At his low wages this was a considerable percentage of his income. At this point he mirrored the Tongans in...