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Imagine being brought to the United States as just a month old baby. You had no say in the matter, but your mother brought you because she wanted to give you your best chance at a better life. In Mexico she didn’t have a job, but she thought living U.S. might be able to help her. When you were ten-years-old, you spent the night scared and alone because your mother didn’t come home from work. She had been deported. 3 months later she came back. Another ten years later, and you have applied for papers multiple times with no luck. The U.S. doesn’t want you because you’re not a genius, you didn’t go to college. How could you go to college without papers? You want your mom to be proud of you, but you can no longer help with the rent, because you no longer have a job. You want to enjoy life, learn new things, and travel, but you can’t. Some people don’t have to imagine this life because it is their life. Read about it here.
Currently the U.S. is torn apart about immigration, some claiming immigrants steal from Americans through their jobs, not paying taxes, and are the reason for moral decline. Others, on the other hand, believe that immigrants are a necessity to the economy, deserve a better life in America, and that children brought to America by their parents shouldn’t be held accountable, and should instead be helped through controversial programs like D.A.C.A.. As someone who lives on the boarder of Mexico, in a state who’s occupants are often immigrants, both legal and illegal, and who’s state is full of Spanish-speaking peoples, I know a bit about immigration. Part of President Trump’s campaign for his presidency was to build a wall, one that would stretch across the New Mexico-Mexican boarder. As a hispanic many of my aunts, uncles, and family friends are immigrants in this country. My goal in this project is to share the truth about immigration, not my opinions, but the straight facts, from the beginning of the journey to the end, so that people can make a decision on their own stance on immigration based upon facts, not the opinion of a politician, political party, neighbor, parent, or anyone else.
According to a census in 2014, illegal Mexican immigrants take up 75% of the illegal immigrant population. Why, you might ask? Well, Mexico shares a border with the U.S. making it easier to cross. Canada also shares a border with the U.S., but Mexicans are suffering in their country whereas Canadians are not. During the Great Depression the U.S. had a poverty rate of 46% wile Mexico currently has a poverty rate of 44%. Due to the high unemployment and poverty rates, Mexicans have no choice but to come here, however the process is not easy. Wait times are long, especially if its a whole family, and they range from 3-10+ years. Some believe that chain migration is easy, but in reality it’s not.
“I met my husband a Mexican national in 2007 after having our daughter. We wanted to “fix” his status as he was illegal. He left the states in 2011 and was given a 10 year bar from reentering the US with no waiver. Living a nightmare of trying to keep our marriage together our kids happy and the inflow of money to the family. We will not be allowed to live “normal” until 2021. Immigration has robbed me of my children’s daily growth and amazing first memories as I travel between Mexico and San Diego weekly. I simply want to see and hold my children daily and have the daily support of my amazing husband. Immigration is such a cold inhumane process… It’s tearing families apart when it should be uniting them.”
Many immigrants have been uprooted from their lives in the U.S., and are forced to return to a country they don’t know. Here is a video about a real family’s story dealing with this predicament:
Some might say that Mexican immigrants bring drugs, crime, and moral decline to the U.S., and that is arguably true. Of the 11 million Mexican immigrants, 7.5% have been convicted of a crime (820,000) and of that 820,000 2.7% have been convicted of a felony (300,000). In total, there were 9.1 million crimes committed in the U.S. by both Americans and Immigrants.
Many believe that a solution to the problem is a ban on immigration from Mexico, or a border wall to limit illegal immigration. As proposed by President Trump in his election for presidency in 2016, a border wall is popular solution amongst many American’s, especially those who’s beliefs are aligned with the Republican Party. To read more about the wall and its pros and cons, here’s a great article by Bloomberg politics. Recently (two weeks ago) trump mentioned sending the military to the border because of a supposed “caravan” full of Immigrants coming to the U.S.. This caravan he speaks of is actually a peaceful march Mexicans participate in, in remembrance of those they have lost trying to cross the border. Is the military really necessary? Some would agree with Trump, others wouldn’t. As mentioned earlier, many solutions are based off a politician or political party. Our minds are so easily brainwashed by the media and by others around us, that it’ hard to tell if our opinions are really our own. I believe that people should be able to make their own educated decisions, like I have, based off the facts, not on other people’s opinions.
I knew right away that I wanted to make an infographic. From the Irish, to the Germans, to the Japanese, and now to Mexicans, nativism, the idea of protect the native born and excluding immigrants, or being anti-immigrant, has been around for decades and has been directed at many different races and cultures due to the idea of American exceptionalism and white superiority. Immigration is such a dense subject that has so much information to be displayed. Defined as “a data rich visualization of a story or thesis that is used to educate, inform, and raise awareness,” an infographic was a perfect fit for my end goal. There was so much information that no one would want to read in an article, but if displayed visually could keep the audiences attention. I used a variety of sources from the New York Times, Fox News, and a website by UC Davis, all the way to federal websites like the FBI and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
I started out by sketching fifteen different sketches that varied from more cause and effect, to a story map, and to a more typical infographic. In the end, I decided on a sketch that had a small section for true stories but reflected the typical layout for an infographic. I worked very hard trying to figure out what information should go where and how it should be organized.
Next, I decided on a color scheme using a color wheel and drawing inspiration from the desert.
For the infographic I started by adding the title and drawing out the three columns. I then vectorized a picture of Mexico from a world map at my school–meaning I made it look like clipart rather than an image. I began filling in the section surrounding the picture of Mexico, and then drawing the line at the bottom. I continued this same technique of filling in information then closing the box off for the rest of the infographic. Toward the end it was difficult to fit things in, and so I tried different layouts and different information until I found a combination that fit. For the pie chart I made a graph in excel so that the percentages were accurate, screen-shotted it and once again, vectorized it using the colors of my choice.
Here is the final infographic. Before reading, please empty your mind of all previous knowledge and opinions pertaining to immigration from Mexico in to the U.S., and while reading consider the question at the bottom, “Should Mexican Immigrants be banned from the U. S. A.?” Also, consider what this infographic doesn’t discuss in great detail, life in America once an immigrant has arrived. They speak a different language, they don’t know the customs or culture, its often hard to find work, etc…From the start, immigrants aren’t given a fair chance in a very competitive game that is dominated by Americans. After you have finished reading and looking at the infographic, please fill out this short survey (also linked at the bottom).
I will be presenting to my school during our next assembly and will also be presenting to my Spanish class. I will upload transcripts and videos of those occasions soon.