Immigration in America has been a topic of intense debate through American history. Americans seem to always want to single “immigrants” out as being a bad guy per say, and the border patrol as good guys. Is it really fair to make that judgment based just on history? I sure do not think so. There’s more to immigrants then there history, there’s a reason why they come to America and it is not always intended for evil. Believe it or not, after reading The Devils Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea, immigrants are the good guys just asking for another chance at life. While the Border Patrol Officers are just wearing that uniform and taking advantage of it. Not coming to an agreement, Luis Alberto Urrea’s nonfiction novel would actually enrich the debate on illegal immigration due to the reasoning’s Urrea gives us on these walkers wanting to come to America.
In the beginning of the novel, Urrea gives us background knowledge on the Devils Highway, the illegal immigrants crossing the border, and information on the Border Patrol Officers. Immigrants not having any income at all, they need to survive as well. In Mexico it was very hard to get a job, with that being said, woman with children, men with children, families in this case needed to survive. “Prices kept raising, and all families, mestizos, and Indian, Mexican and illegal, Protestant, Catholic, or heathen were able to afford less and less.
Food was harder to come by. Families continued to grow” (44). These Mexicans needed money to survive; they needed better opportunities that Mexico was not offering them. Coming to America was their only choice. Not coming legally, these walkers took a chance at life down the “dangerous border”(8). It was a chance worth taking. “Good guys”, these immigrants were trying to better there future no matter what it took. Why couldn’t the Border Patrol accept that? The Devils Highway was a road leading to a rude awakening, wasn’t that bad enough.
These “walkers” are humans just like all Americans, and like most of us these walkers seek a better chance at life. They wanted to be given the same opportunities Americans are given when it comes to freedom, education, independence, etc. In this particular case, Mexicans should be able to have a dream and do anything productive with their lives as us Americans do.
Crossing the border illegally, through the Devils Highway, these walkers knew exactly what they were walking into before their journey begun. The Devils Highway is also known as Desolation. As an empty place, desolated for that matter. You’re really walking into your own death by taking this risk in coming to America. Being that I support illegal immigration, I also feel that not everyone comes for the same reason. Rather than, like the walkers, coming to America for a better way of life, there are others that come for negative reason.
One main concern that the Border Patrol comes across is drugs being smuggled into America and our government will not tolerate that at all. Any walker that has bad intentions and brings that nonsense across the border with them should not be allowed in the United States. Therefore coming to America should be both legal verse illegal for different reasons. As long as border patrol is doing there jobs, they should be able to distinguish the two, make a separation and not confuse the two. Wait, but what exactly is Border Patrol? Is it actually just patrolling the border? Is there job only to catch bad guys? In the Devils Highway, Urrea sometimes makes it seem like Border Patrol along with the Coyotes.
As a writer and a reader I still ask myself, is it possible to categorize any of the people in The Devils Highway as “good guys” or “bad guys”. The decision still remains uncertain to me. With immigration being an intense topic of debate, I feel that ones action should not determine whether they be a good or bad guy. The Border Patrol agents just simply do there job, and the Coyotes simply are apart of the walkers (immigrants). Having different people discussed in the book, Urrea gives great examples to debate the sides of good and bad guys. It is just a matter of what its right and wrong, and what is for the people not against it.