From Enrique's Journey, how has immigration changed in the past decade?

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

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When first published, Nazario's work depicted realities that many found surprising or even shocking.  Some of this existed in the statistics presented, such as that there were an “estimated 700,000 immigrants enter the United States illegally,”  or that roughly 1.7 million children “live illegally in the United States, most from Mexico and Central America.”  Some of this existed in the narrative offered, one that showed families separated by borders, agencies, legislation, and human deception.  Finally, Nazario's work depicted the grueling and difficult condition in being an immigrant that had not been shown in such detail, as in her detailing of realities such as "El Tren de la Muerte" and the arduous condition of migration to the North.  Immigration was shown in an honest light, and, at the time of its writing, this was fundamentally jarring to the reader.

I think that in the past decade or so, one element that has changed is the level of shock the modern reader would now experience to what Nazario depicts.  The realities that are illuminated in Enrique's Journey  have become common understandings in the immigration debate.  News media now covers children being detained and families being separated as a part of the discourse surrounding immigration.  The presence of extreme difficulty in emigrating to the United States as well as depiction of human cruelty in such a process is no longer as shocking.  Immigration has not necessarily changed in the past decade or so. However, I think that more has become understood about immigration to the point that what Nazario showed in the book is no longer as "surprising," for lack of a better word.  It has become standard.  The narrative that Nazario weaves is one that we already concede within the immigration debate.  While the level of shock might change regarding immigration, the element of institutional inertia has not changed.  What Nazario referred to as a  “schizophrenic policy” has not changed in terms of constructing of an immigration policy that is not effective.  The shock may have worn off, but the desire to simply search for "jobs that pay okay" has not changed, something that will always permanently underscore the immigrant narrative.

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