As has been stated many times, “Fear of the unknown causes panic that is unknown only to the one experiencing it.” Throughout my life I have met, and written about many undocumented immigrants who, through fear in their own homelands, as well as, economic necessities have struck out to try and make a better life in the United States of America!
Some undocumented immigrants have been dumped in the middle of deserts at night by unscrupulous Coyotes. This was after the Coyote had procured the life’s savings of the poor immigrant. Many died after that experience, and the ones who miraculously made it the rest of the way across the desert, did so with death facing them at every step. Imagine being dumped in total darkness that could be felt, without food or water, not knowing what would be encountered along the way. In the southwest desert there are all kinds of wild animals, rattlesnakes, Gila monsters, and an assortment of other hazards. Then there was the hazard of turning the wrong way in the darkness! There was fear on every side!
When the poor immigrant reaches any sort of civilization he or she faces the probability that the natives might not be friendly. The immigrant has no documents to prove that they are citizens of any country. They have no money to offer for food and shelter. Their clothing is in shreds and many have no shoes on their feet. If, by any miracle, they finally are accepted into the country, they must face the persecution of the local citizenry who feel that the poor immigrant is there to take away their jobs and their livelihood in general. Whatever happened to love, compassion, and mercy? A people that would turn away a person that had faced the hazards of reaching the border and even facing death along the way must be the most hard-hearted person alive! The undocumented immigrant faces fear on every hand as they are never sure who they can trust after having been treated so badly by the Coyote!
Many of our immigrants who have fled the Communist regime in Vietnam have come away under fear of death. They came away in small boats covered with palm fronds never knowing where they were headed or where they would end up. Yet they persisted on leaving Vietnam not caring about the death that possibly awaited them nor the hazards that they knew was facing them. There was fear on every hand! Some made it to other countries, some did not!
A few short years ago, seeming like ages, the agricultural crops in the valleys of California were dependent on immigrant labor. Some areas are still that way. The local boys in the surrounding neighborhoods thought it fun to go into the fruit and vegetable areas and shout, “Émigré” just to see the hapless undocumented immigrants flee the scene hiding under fruit and vegetable boxes because of fear of the Immigration department deporting them. How would these boys have felt if the shoe had been on the other foot, living in fear all their lives never knowing when or where the huge hammer of democracy would fall on them? But of course, the uncaring rascals did not consider for a moment that the ones they were harassing were the very ones who put fresh fruit and vegetables on their tables!
Through great fear, we now have in California, and other areas of America, some of the best workers and most successful people in the form of undocumented, or otherwise, documented immigrants. These hard working, fearful, souls have taken the dregs offered by society and turned this into many an opportunity that most Americans would have sneered at and claimed that they did not have to put up with any adversity because they happened to be born in the Land of the Free! When will we finally wake up and realize that the only truly born Americans were those that met us at the boats. Every other person of American descent had one or the other parent come as an immigrant to the harbor in New York that contains the statue of Liberty! These faced all the hazards that are faced by the new immigrants, but yet, they persisted and built lives by hard work, being fearful of their neighbors, and facing persecution of all kinds! Every drop of blood that flows through our veins is the same blood that flows through the veins of the Fearful Ones! Will the American people wake up too late?