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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

To read about movies and TV shows I'm watching, visit my other blog: Elliot's Watching

Monday, July 24, 2017

Timely story about an immigrant from Mexico

Short fiction in current New Yorker, Everything is far from here, by Cristina Henriquez, an author whom my sister has recommended to me and whom I think I'll read more of now, is a timely, scary piece about an immigrant from Mexico and her horrendous experience crossing the border and living in some form of transition housing in Texas. Story begins as she arrives in Texas after a brutal 3-week crossing, bruised and depleted, and, worst of it all, separated from her 5-year-old son. We learn that the so-called guide whom she'd evidently paid to get her into the U.S. separated women from their children so that the crossing groups would be smaller - hard to believe that under any circumstances a mother would entrust her 5-year-old to another crossing guide but perhaps out of fear and physical exhaustion that does happen. In any event, the guide sexually abuses the women, and they arrive in Texas with no resources or contacts at all. Over the course of this short piece, the woman makes numerous attempts to get info about her son, all of which fail. We get a sense of her despair and fear - and also of the indifference of authorities and officials who provide her and others with minimal housing and sustenance and no true support, let alone welcoming spirit. I suspect this story - told in a series of separated paragraphs, something like snapshots - may be part of longer work; the piece is timely, of course, as today's headlines tell of the death of 10 immigrants in an overheated, unventilated tractor-trailer. This story offers no solution - but does make it obvious that whatever we're doing now on the borders is not working and that building a "wall" will solve no problems.

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