is Urrea's main argument/message in The Devil's Highway?
Apart from focusing on borders and migration, the most central message of this powerful text concerns the root cause of the problem depicted through the terrors of the Mexicans who tried to cross the border. Again and again, Urrea stresses that the real cause of what is going on in this part of the world is the massive inequality that lies between Mexicans and their proximity to the United States, where they can see the visible consumption of wealth that they can only dream of:
If only Mexico paid workers a decent wage.
In Iowa City, Omaha, Nutley, Waycross, Metairie, those who survive the northern passage can earn in an hour what it took a long day's work in radioactive chemical Mexican sludge to earn before...
Mexicans still behind the barbed wire continue to listen to fabulous tales of Los Estados Unidos. They watch drunk and disorderly teens vomit in the streets of Spring-Break-Atlan. They wait tables and mop floors while sailors scream and naked girls dangle from balconies.
It is clear that Urrea's central message is an attack not on the coyotes and the illegal immigrants that are entering the United States but on the root cause, which is the massive inequality that leads people to risk their own lives in the hope of gaining riches which, in their perspective, massively outweigh the risk they take of losing their life. That such a system can occur in our "civilised" age, Urrea argues, is deplorable.