In The Devil's Highway, why does Urrea write the last chapter in a different from all the rest of the chapters? What is the thesis and supporting details Urrea presents in the last chapter?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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A significant part of Urrea's thesis that emerges from the "Home" conclusion of The Devil's Highwayis that there are significant flaws in American immigration policy.  There is much within the idea of "Home" that causes questions within the reader on both subjective and policy levels.  It is for this reason that Urrea writes it in a different manner than the other chapters.  He is more concerned with bringing out the full implications of a flawed immigration policy.  The details illuminated helps to bring this issue to the forefront.  The money spent on transferring the bodies of those who died on "the devil's highway" could have been reinvested in Mexican communities, perhaps preventing the need to make the trek in the first place.  The dehumanization of "the devil's highway" has resulted in situation where the “depravity of the border churns ahead in a parade of horrors.” There is no conception of "home" in this setting.

Many of the details in the final chapter of the book depicts individuals on both sides of the border who find themselves unable to progress with flawed governmental policies on immigration.  For every act of illegal human trafficking across "the devil's highway," many more cases go unreported.  The sad people who undertake this journey away from "home" are also shown to be misunderstood.  Urrea details how these individuals don't wish to "overtake" America, as is commonly depicted by those in the position of power.  Rather, the harsh economic reality in which one hour of work in America is equivalent to a day's work in Mexico is detailed.  The idea that “Even the gringo trash is better than anything else they can buy" fuels a condition in which immigrants who come into America only do so to improve their family's economic being for a period of time before they can return to their loved ones.  The idea of "home" is not a permanent one, but rather one that is driven by economic reality.  For Urrea, any immigration policy that fails to address this condition is flawed.

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