This story from the Houston Chronicle online reports that a border patrol agent helped a woman give birth on the banks of the Rio Grande River, on the border between Texas and Mexico.
The story is brief, and simply reports that the agent does not know whether the woman and the man accompanying her were undocumented or not, but this is just one example of what immigration in this country has devolved into.
A few years ago I worked as an advocate for Latina immigrant women in Pennsylvania, most of whom were here without documents. I helped them find prenatal care, apply for emergency medical assistance and care for their newborn children. The stories that I would hear from these women were terrifying. The trials and tribulations of crossing the border, usually in unsafe conditions, quite of few of them pregnant while crossing.
One can only imagine the desperation that would lead a woman to attempt such a crossing at nine months pregnant. One woman I worked with had ridden for hours in the trunk of a car with a few other men to cross. Countless women are abused by the people they pay (huge sums) to bring them over (called coyotes), as well as their travelling partners and I’m sure some border patrol officials once they arrive in the United States. Death rates on the border are high, with people getting lost in the desert, and dying of starvation and dehydration.
The situation with immigration continues to deteriorate, and Bush’s calls to heighten border security and build million dollar fences will not alleviate the problem. We need humane and reasonable immigration policies, that don’t discriminate against the people we rely on for manual labor, who keep this country running by working in the factories, fields, restaurants and hotels.