- Paperback: 211 pages
- Publisher: Orbis Books (October 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1570757984
- ISBN-13: 978-1570757983
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,001,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Trails of Hope and Terror: Testimonies on Immigration
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The testimonials force us to answer the following question: what would we do if we couldn't feed our children without breaking the law? When NAFTA throws farmers off their land, and maquilodores on the border fail to provide living, steady wages, so many migrants seem to have no choice but to head north. De La Torre describes the migrants as heroes because they literally climb mountains and cross rivers and deserts for their families. Their treks invariably lead to pain, heartache, and often death. The picture of fourteen year old Josseline Hernandez, whose body was recently found in the desert, haunts the reader. So do the the plaintive stories, songs, and poetry of the migrants themselves.
Although Trails of Hope and Terror is a relatively short book, it is packed with information relevant to the immigration debate. It shows how NAFTA pushed nearly two million Mexican farmers off their land and towards the United States when they could not compete with subsidized American farmers. According to De La Torre and his testimonials, the tightened border of Operation Gatekeeper has only exacerbated the problem. Migrants still make it into the United States, but on a much more deadly path. Because the trip in is so difficult, nobody leaves anymore. When the border was more porous, migrants came and went with the growing season. Now, ironically, the border keeps them on the northern side. No one wants to make that trip more than once.
The book is most impassioned and moving in its analysis of the place of the migrant in scripture. According to De La Torre, himself the son of an undocumented immigrant, the Old Testament calls for humane treatment of the alien no less than 38 times. Most directly in Leviticus the Jews, themselves once unwanted foreigners, are told to "love the alien living among you as yourself." In the testimonials, De La Torre's witnesses repeatedly point out that Christ was a migrant as a child, on the run into Egypt in order to escape the clutches of King Herod. Most pointedly, again and again we are reminded of the verses in Matthew 25 in which Christ comes to us in the form of the thirsty, the hungry, the stranger, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned. Our response to him determines the fate of our immortal souls. And so it is for the soul of our nation as we encounter the undocumented, insists this voice crying in the wilderness of the Arizona desert, the scholar, activist, and social prophet Miguel De La Torre.