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Yesterday, I posted an alternative look at the immigration debate -- the impact that unfettered illegal immigration has had on the Mexican communities abandoned by the men who come to the United States. Eusebia Flores at Artcamp Artesanas Campesinas sent a missive that implored Americans to send their men back home to Mexico to assist them in rebuilding Tecalpulco through their growing business of handmade crafts. I asked a series of follow-up questions, and Eusebia sent her reply this afternoon.
CQ: How many of your able-bodied men have left Tecalpulco for the US, on a percentage basis (your best estimate, not looking for literal accuracy)?
EF: More than 100 are in the United States, about 40%. This is an estimate based on a comment made in my presence by the comisario of Tecalpulco.
CQ: Do they send money back to Tecalpulco, and if so, how does that support your community?
EF: Some do. Not all do. Some do not do well - they cant find a job or get settled or they dont have money left after paying rent and expenses. Some let their bad habits get the better of their promises, for example drinking alcohol. Often the men get involved with other women there.
Money sent from the USA is a form of income to support the household as if they were employed here, and when money does arrive, it is always needed, and welcome.
CQ: Do the men often have their families cross the border later to join them, or do they usually leave everyone behind for good?
EF: Sometimes the family does go to join them. But this is still only a few.
CQ: Please describe the damage to the community that this abandonment of the men has done to Tecalpulco. How has it affected the raising of children, the ability of young women to marry, and so on?
EF: This has been a disaster for us.
It means that the children do not have their fathers. Usually, the men marry the girls before they are twenty years old and they have children before they go. An important part of the motive for going to the USA is the adventure,
because these are young men and they do not want to miss out on an adventure or stay behind when others have gone and done well.
Usually, it is the most courageous ones who go, and the weaker and the more fearful ones are the ones who remain.
CQ: If the men remained in Tecalpulco, how would that improve the economy of your community?
EF: In the past years, women have built a new cottage industry jewelry business that is doing well. The situation has changed because now we do have work and we wish the men would return to help us sand and polish in production. What they can accomplish there is less than what they could accomplish here and even when they do make more money, we would rather have them with us.
CQ: Do you believe that American business interests deserve the blame for the men abandoning your community?
EF: Honestly, we are not interested in blaming anybody. It is true that businesses in the United States often ask good workers to invite family members to go and they offer to pay the expenses including what the border coyote charges [emphasis mine -- CE].
Businesses are spending money reimbursing the coyotes? If this is true, then we don't just have a problem with hiring practices at these shops, but we have them contributing to organized crime and modern-day slavers.
The women of Tecalpulco want their men back. Who in our government wants to tell them no?Sphere It View blog reactions
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