Guide for the Yucatecan Migrant

Mexican Government Guide cover

What to do if confronted by U.S. Immigration officer...

Officials in the Mexican state of Yucatan have published their own 87-page handbook for potential migrants to the United States, adding fuel to an international debate over whether such guides encourage illegal border-crossers.

The Guide for the Yucatecan Migrant, published by the southeastern state of Yucatán, comes with an accompanying DVD in Spanish and Mayan. It tells migrants how to apply for U.S. work visas but also gives detailed safety advice for crossing illegally, including where to find water in the desert and how to avoid the most dangerous areas. The guide includes a section specifically about Arizona.

This comes on the heels of the Mexican Government guidebook that is being distributed by the Mexican Foreign Ministry helping illegal immigrants cross the border into the U.S.

U.S. critics fear Mexican states quietly are encouraging undocumented immigrants as a way to boost their economies. Mexican migrants in all parts of the United States sent $16.6 billion to Mexico last year.

"That open border is worth more than a billion dollars a month to Mexico, so they're going to do whatever they can to keep it going," said Rick Oltman, Western field director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, based in Washington, D.C.

The Yucatan book goes much further into details along with the instructional DVD:

The Guide for the Yucatecan Migrant is filled with photographs and maps, and the cover shows a man in traditional Yucatecan dress standing in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

It devotes 11 pages to U.S. visas and how to apply for them. The guide published by the Foreign Ministry in December contained none of that information and was widely criticized for it.

An additional 21 pages are about crossing the border illegally, including descriptions meant to help migrants avoid the most dangerous routes through Arizona, California and Texas.

Eight pages deal with crossing the Arizona desert, telling migrants what clothes to wear and to add salt to their drinking water and use a rehydration formula that can be bought in pharmacies.

"After passing through Lukeville, you will cross through a national park where you will find tanks of water," one section says. "If the smuggler decides to walk beyond the park, you will travel on paths where there is no Border Patrol but in places where military exercises are conducted."

Guzmán said the descriptions are meant to help migrants realize when smugglers are leading them into danger.

Four pages are devoted to migrants' rights while detained by U.S. authorities. The guide tells them they only must give their names to officials, advises them to sign nothing without speaking to a lawyer or consular official and recommends they contact their local consulate for help in getting refunds for unused plane tickets.

The rest of the book is devoted to life in the United States: how to send money home, where to find health care, differences in U.S. and Mexican laws and driving tips.

The book urges migrants to seek free English classes. It also tells them how to apply for documents that will allow them to enroll in U.S. grade schools, a sore point for some U.S. school districts.

"There is an agreement between the governments of Mexico and the United States so that, no matter your migration status, you can study in elementary, secondary and preparatory schools," it says. "Don't stop studying; there is always an option."

The DVD repeats much of the same information using voice-overs, but it includes more photos and graphics.

The book ends with an invitation to return home: "Don't forget that Yucatán is your homeland and that in your homeland we will always receive you with open arms and with the respect you deserve."

Now just what the hell is THAT? "..the respect you deserve.."?

They come here illegally...work illegally...take complete advantage of our infrastructure - hospitals...schools...fire and police...welfare... - and most of them do not pay taxes...and we are supposed to dish out respect for all of that??

Get this:

....the amount of money migrants sent back to Yucatán doubled in 2001-04 to about $9 million. On Dec. 28, the government held its first Day of the Yucatecan Migrant ceremony to honor expatriates....

I have HAD IT!

I am heading to D.C. at the end of April and I am going to help lobby for REAL immigration legislation...