Immigration explored as a concept in Mexico City exhibition

The video and photography exhibition Laberinto de Miradas – Labyrinth of Glances – that opened in Mexico City last month in the Cultural Center of Spain – features the kind of images that we are used to seeing in relation to immigration.

But the show also looks at migration and immigration as a concept, broadening out the typical notion we might have of the phenomenon of human migration and immigration.

Migration is “a middle-class Argentine woman, driven into exile by her country’s 2001 peso collapse. A Cuban man who bears the scars of jail time served for trying to flee to Miami. Hundreds of Brazilians of mixed ethnicities, body types and attitudes, mostly economic refugees from other parts of the country, all crammed into a ramshackle São Paulo apartment building, striving to co-exist (see photo, by Cia de Foto), writes Reed Johnson in this Los Angeles Times dispatch.

Watch the narrated slideshow below, made for the Los Angeles Times,  for some pictures from the show.

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Tijuana: Reflections on the Border

Tijuana side.

The view from the border: Tijuana side.

“TJ? Really?” was the response from most people last week when they learned I was heading down south of San Diego for a research trip.

They were right to be cautious. I live in Mexico City — one of the biggest, baddest towns around — but still gave Tijuana a second thought. The world’s most famous border city has been getting some bad press of late due to the drug-related violence playing out on its streets.

But what struck me more during my brief trip was the border itself and how it is littered with evidence of its own casualties and conflicts, past and present. The wall is at the center of the current national debate on immigration, and I wanted to see it for myself.

Read on – this post was written for La Plaza.

Calderon should accept Merida’s human right conditions?

In anticipation of the scheduled debate around the controversial Merida Initiative aid package in the US Senate this week, the Financial Times newspaper from the UK urges President Felipe Calderon to accept the human rights conditions attached to the US$400 billion injection aimed at helping Mexico fights its drugs barons. But should he? Continue reading

Video: Illegal Border Crossing for tourists

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This video was created to go with this Los Angeles Times report.

Illegal border crossing – for tourists.

La Caminata Nocturna, HidalgoVideo Coming Soon

Panting for breath, I waded through cow-pat flavoured mud, struggling to keep myself from slipping in the dark. “Vamanos, vamanos, vamanos!” urged my coyote, the Spanish name for people who smuggle migrants across the border into the United States.

The sound of La Migra’s sirens – also known as United States Border Patrol – sounded out behind me. Hands shaking, I stopped to catch my breath and watched the faces of the other migrants crouched in the dark, breathing heavily.

“We know you’re there,” boomed a crackling voice in English, tinged with a Mexican accent, over the loudspeaker. Gun shots rang out.

“What you’re doing is illegal. We have food and water. We can help you get back home.”

Only, no one wanted to go back home. Everyone was actually having a rather a good time. That’s because this wasn’t for real. We were pretend migrants, trying to cross an artificial border pursued by a fake Border Patrol deep in the Mexican state of Hidalgo for the bargain price of 100 pesos (US$10) rather than the thousands that Mexicans and Central American migrants crossing into the U.S illegally pay their smugglers. Continue reading

New study contrasts native and immigrant Latinas in U.S

Fascinating statistics released yesterday on the demographic makeup of the female Latina community in the United States show some striking, if unsurprising, differences between non-Latina and Latina women, as well as the native-born and immigrant female Latina communities. Continue reading

How many non-immigrant visas did the United States grant in Mexico last year?

In the year ending September 2007, the U.S embassy in Mexico processed applications for 1,300,000 non-immigrant visas (visitor, student, temporary work, and other categories) according to this page on the site of the U.S Embassy in Mexico. This year the embassy is projecting more than 1,600,000 applications – and projections are generally overtaken by actual applications, as the graph at the bottom of this page shows.

I called the Embassy myself this week to find out how many of the 1,300,000 non-immigrant visas processed last year were actually granted, but was told that information is not available. Then I emailed a press and information officer at the Department of Home Security and was directed to this page.

According to THAT info, not including border passes, a total of 1,027,737 non-immigrant visas were issued from Mexico last year. That would suggest that only 272,263 non-immigrant visa applications DIDN’T get granted by the US Embassy in Mexico, if their figures are anything to go by. Can that be right? Was Juan just one of the unlucky few?

Or is my maths just wrong? Please click on the image below to see it in full – it won’t fit in this blogging template.
imm stats

Figures provided by the U.S Department of State