Today is July 4th, a day the United States celebrates freedom from British rule. A tradition is this celebration is getting together with family and friends, eating good food, and when the sun goes down, watching firework displays. We celebrated with a Bar BQ dinner, watermelon and watching the fireworks from our patio. Our home is in a location to observe the aerial firework celebrations from five different area town.
Watching, and thinking of this celebration of freedom, I question what is freedom? Freedom from what? In the beginning it was freedom from British rule, taxation without representation, religious freedoms, and poverty.
At what price would we pay for this freedom today?
There is a large influx of illegal or undocumented people traveling to and into the United States through Texas. These people want freedom, freedom to raise a family, to build their dreams. The countries they come from are Mexico and Central American countries. Somehow, they obtain money to pay “coyotes” or the drug cartels to transport them across miles of Mexico and into the United States. Once here, they can not obtain work as they are not legal to work in the United States, but they work for money that is not documented, and sometimes they end up working for free, as the person putting them to work does not pay them. What are these illegal immigrants going to do? Tell the police that they worked and were not paid? No, they go somewhere else to work.
Recently in the news was a discovery of a semi trailer used to haul warehouse goods to stores, abandoned with people yelling for help. Locked in a large metal trailer were people searching for and risking their lives for freedom. When the emergency responders opened the locked doors of the trailer, they found stacks of dead people, and many others very ill from heat exhaustion and dehydration. The number of those dead in the trailer 46. Forty-six people died to have the freedom we celebrate today.
Why do they come? Is the United States a so much better place to live that it is worth dying for?
The Mexican president stated “poverty and violence” as the reason for those coming and dying in the trailer.
Yet, I hear on the news of the violence in my country, murders, mass shootings including schools. How do these people coming to the United States illegally think that their children will not be involved in a mass shooting or murder? Is the United States really “safer” than where they are coming from? We have bad crime. Even the small town I live in has crime. Are they coming expecting there to be no crime, no murder? In Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, people are shot daily, robbed, mugged and raped. I live an hour away for this metroplex.
Poverty is a popular topic on current news for the United States. I hear constantly about child poverty, children not having enough food to eat. A major problem when school is out, thousands of children, born in the United States, do not get meals, food daily. The small town I live in knows it is a serious problem in our community. There is a Blessing Box, where people who need food can go to at anytime, to get food. It is a large cabinet, open at all hours to receive donations and to be a blessing to someone who needs food.
Poverty in the United States is very real. Many families live below the poverty level. In our area, adult children with their own children, live with their parents unable to afford a home of their own. With the Covid-19, some children with families moved back in with parents due to loss of job and home. Inflation is beginning to affect everyone. My grocery costs has doubled since three months ago. We are not eating different, our grocery list stays the same, the prices have risen. With the cost of fuel, and utilities rising, my budget is seriously stressed.
How do those coming here from other countries because of poverty, expect to do better when they can not legally work in the United States?
There was a time in my life I lived in a tent, not able to afford a house to live in although I had a job. I have lived in poverty. I have lived in income based apartments. The United States is not paradise, there is poverty, crime and many other horrors.
Why risk your life to come to this place? What makes people want to risk everything to live in a country that does not want them?
Questions I have no answer for, and I do not think many people do, except those who are coming.
One thing is certain, they believe with everything they have and their own lives, they are traveling to a better place to live. Those 46 people thought it was worth the risk of life to have our freedom and opportunities.