Immigration In the book, Crossing Over, Ruben Martinez tells us a story of a poor Mexican family that undertakes a journey to find hope, better future and prosperous lives; a journey on a migrant trail…
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Ruben Martinez, a Mexican-American news correspondent and a journalist, was devastated to hear the tragic incident that involved three of the Mexican brothers who lost their lives when the truck, carrying 26 undocumented migrants, including them, turned over in a high-speed quest with the U.S. Border Patrol beyond the Tijuana-San Diego borderline. However, Martinez' Crossing Over is not a story that covers the events associated with the crash itself. It is not about the three youngsters who had lost their lives, but, in a broader sense, it is the tale of an emigrant. A journey that reveals the crossings of various people from Mexico to the US, where they arrive to work as farmers, gardeners and factory workers (Claywoman 2003). His journey starts off in Mexico and takes him to different states such as Warren, Arkansas, Louisiana, Wisconsin, and finally to Watsonville, CA. Throughout the journey, the reader can actually feel the never-ending triumphs and trials that are to be faced by the immigrant in search of a prosperous future. These immigrants battle hard to survive, prosper and feed their families back at home by working day in and day out. Those who succeed in ‘crossing the line’ eventually end up living in poorer regions, yet they manage to save enough to send back for family members. One wonders, why they have to do this, undertake a life threatening journey and strive for a future that is uncertain and unknown. Martinez attempts to answer such questions with his own journey and by that of others. Looking back in time, before prominent contact and defeat, there was no such term as borders. Until the late 1900’s, Mexicans were the owners of this land. They loved it and cultivated it until the Western world started to run out of regions where they could conquer and therefore, they began accusing the Mexicans for being in their way. Until then, the borders were not really closed and time to time, whenever the U.S. felt a need to harvest crops or had such menial jobs in the pipeline, they would greet the Mexicans with open hearts. Furthermore, in times of war migrant laborers had fought in the U.S. Navy and Army along with the Washington’s lumberjack force. Former president Bush also acknowledged the contributions and services rendered by Mexican soldiers (Claywoman 2003). Martinez concludes that after the events of September 11, 2001, America’s fear of terrorism exacerbated and therefore, borders have also strengthened which makes crossing over quite a difficult task. However, the writer Martinez believes that since there will always be crops to be harvested, garbage cans to be picked, and beds to be made in luxurious hotels, tables to be served and dishes to be washed - and until Americans decide to carry out such menial tasks on their own, people will continue to combat all odds and attempt to cross borders. There is a lot to be absorbed in Crossing Over as the book highlights a number of problematic issues that can easily be observed in the American society. It educates us as to how we should learn to respect people who always remain unnoticed, poor and faceless. Their life is a struggle to locate their own genuine roots. Therefore, this book is an exceptional source that sparks debate on racial discrimination and racism apparent in the American society today (Claywoman 2003). According to the data obtained by Census Bureau's American Community report for the year 2009, the overall US immigrant population was estimated to be 38,517,234, or it can be calculated as
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