Yesterday one of the men that I was drying dishes with sung us a song that his girlfriend sung to him over the phone when he was in the US and she was in Mexico. Other than sparking a spontaneous karaoke afternoon, his song also represented the love that stretches across the US/Mexico border between girlfriends and boyfriends, husbands and wives, parents and kids.
On the journey to the US, all migrants leave behind some part of their family. But in the instability and unexpectedness of deportation, families are stretched even further and decisions about unification become that much harder. One man decided to bring his wife who was 3-months pregnant back to Mexico along with his 2 year old US citizen child. His brother died in the desert and he cannot stand the thought of crossing again. Another deported migrant was headed back to Puebla after talking to his 10 year old daughter who said “daddy, can you please come home?” A man from Phoenix who had been in the US for 10 years was going to try again – even though he was terrified of the dangers of the desert – because his 14 and 16 year old sons did not want to come back to Mexico. And one woman chose to go to Michoacan where she had three children under the age of 10 while her husband stayed in the US with their 3 year old.
I often try to put myself in their shoes and ask myself what I would do. Which of my kids would I unite with? Would I keep them in the US educational system? Would I cross a desert to join with my husband who I loved? Would I want my husband to risk his life in that way to join me? Is there any way to support my family financially and be with them at the same time?
And I don’t know. I don’t know if I would cross to send money back but also be separated from my family for years. I don’t know if I would walk across the desert and risk my life to rejoin my children. I don’t know if I would bring my family back to Mexico to try to make a living as best as we can with jobs that don’t pay as well and an education that gives fewer future opportunities.
But I do know that I love my family. And I do know that every person who walks through our door has someone that they love in Mexico or the US or usually both countries. So as much as I like to have a neat resolution or clear message at the end of my entries, this one will have to be left unresolved. Because that is where so many of the migrants that I work with stand. In the middle of loved ones, opportunities, and laws. Unsure of the best path but walking in love.