Illegal Immigrants: A Modern Day Grapes Of Wrath

1530 words - 6 pages

As depicted in John Steinbeck's novel Grapes of Wrath the 1930's was a time when migrant workers like the story's Joad family had to leave their homes, cross a perilous desert, live through the social injustices of the time, and work at jobs with low insufficient pay just to have a better life (Steinbeck). Seventy years later, the situations and experiences stay the same but the people are no longer native-born Americans but illegal immigrants who sacrifice everything to come to the United States to live a better life, as a result of that the 500,000 immigrants that illegally enter the United States through the Mexican border annually and stay in the country are the Joads of today (Aizenman).
In the Grapes of Wrath the Joad family had to abandon their home and memories and cross the dessert by car to reach to their new life and the jobs that wait for them. The journey was not easy for the Joads or for any of the other migrant workers; consistently the journey for illegal immigrants is no different today. Contrary to popular belief, not all immigrants crossing the border are Mexican; while the majority is Mexican the immigrants are also from the rest of Latin America. The second largest groups of immigrants that cross the border are from El Salvador, other countries include Guatemala, and Colombia (fairus.org). The migrant workers of the 1930’s had the benefit of cars, however since cars are too noticeable by border patrol an immigrant has to walk the whole length (García). Walking the desert between the U.S and Mexico is the hardest way of crossing. An immigrant has to cross when the heat is not as strong and walk miles without rest (National Geographic). All the walking without rest makes the immigrants very tired and dehydrated, however they have to drink salt water to retain important body fluids. Nausea begins to kick in after not drinking any water. Crossing the border is a horrible experience. Unlike the 1930’s when migrant workers could carry some things, the immigrant has to carry light because at times they have to cross the Rio Grande and must be able to float (wnd). Other ways of crossing the border include riding on top of cargo trains. Crossing the border is not a safe feat neither, in certain parts up to 134 illegal immigrants die each year as they are trying to cross (National Geographic). The immigrants also have live through the animals, the heat, and the border patrol and immigration officers. As a result of increased border patrol, crossing the border has progressively become more difficult to do and has resulted in the decrease of number of immigrants. But how do the immigrants not get lost? The crossing of the border has become somewhat of a business and there are now crossing helpers known as “coyotes” that lead groups of immigrants; sometimes in these groups are young children that have their parents in the United States already (García). Coyotes charge up to $2000 and more for their services; at times they get lost and...

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