2 weeks ago
Friday, 11 February 2011
pic of a border in Oaxaca, but not THE border
"the border is a line of barbwire and spiked pillars that seems only to serve as a symbol of one man's futile lifetime endeavors, his attempts to define Mother Nature's boundaries, as well as man's national claims to a piece of what no human can ever call his own possession. Men will always be willing to fight and die in follies of nationalism, but they will never be able to continually control their own borders."
- border patrol agent Lee Morgan, quoted in Ed Vulliamy's 2010 book 'Amexica'
Read this book. Its like the non-fiction, modern day equivalent of McCarthy's Blood Meridian, with a touch of The Border Trilogy. Truly, truly impressive reportage.
Posted by Esteyonage at 23:00
Tuesday, 8 February 2011
a man looks out as a bus of migrant workers heads pulls away from Ocosingo, Chiapas, headed to Playa del Carmen and Cancún in search of work.
Yesterday, the Chicago Tribune published a story about an undocumented migrant worker named Quelino Ojeda Jimenez who became paraplegic after a fall on the job site. He spent several months in hospital, at a point when he couldn't breath without assistance, nor move. They he got deported.
The article says:
"His abrupt departure, which Ojeda says was undertaken without his consent, outraged a group of Mexicans living in Chicago who had rallied to his aid, tending to him in the hospital and encouraging him not to give up."
and then a few paragraphs later:
"Now, the 20-year-old man is in a Mexican hospital that is so resource-poor that it is reusing filters for the breathing machine needed to keep him alive. After an investigation completed late last week, Advocate Health Care — the largest hospital network in Illinois — acknowledged it never obtained Ojeda's permission to transfer him to Mexico."
It seems the Mexican Consulate was not informed until very late in the game. But the article (and follow up) quotes reps from the hospital and the med evac company who say they followed procedure, and made the right move(s). (Yet, they admit they did not tell the patient; they refer to this as "an oversight.")
The editor insinuates that the article drew a lot of feedback. This should hardly surprise. Its emotional, for one. It brings up health care in the States - a hot topic. And it also deals with one of several sticky areas of deportation laws: what happens when undocumented worker is severely incapacitated while working in the US?
It would make sense that the Tribune might write a follow up with a bit more depth, a longer look at the many sides of this debate - pros, cons and what have you, including from readers. Puzzling to me though, their follow up took a different angle, justifying why this was a news piece. (Its actually called "Why we Wrote About a Paralyzed Undocumented Worker Sent Back to Mexico")
POV's of me, Chicago Tribune or its readership on US health care or immigration laws aside, I remain intrigued about why this news has to be justified. Better explained, or flushed out, sure.
Its not an isolated incident - as the article points out. It deals with important issues and it affects lives. And it is certainly not cut and dry what the right move is in that situation. Plus, it seems some basic rights were not considered, namely that of a paraplegic patient to at the very least be informed of his deportation. Unless I am missing something, those seem like pretty good justifications for a story (granted, it was not quite as newsworthy as Aguilera or Black Eyed Peas post-Super Bowl gossip).
The peeps at Wronging Rights (via @wrongingrights) responded quick to my earlier tweet linking to the article:
"If you put a white person on a plane to Mexico without his consent, that's kidnapping. Why is it an "oversight" when you do it to a Mexican?"
I think that is valid question. Perhaps even more relevant though is this: if this were a British national from a poor family (as Ojeda is), that could not afford to get them back immediately, hurt while working under the table in the US, would they ever be transported without seeking consent? How would public reaction differ if this had happened to a Brit, Canadian or Aussie?
Posted by Esteyonage at 06:54