Solidarity for the Birds of Passage

Lilian Chávez
University of Houston, EEUU


Are human beings that emigrate from their country evoking human rights advocates to create “mediating institutions” that are enabling transitory services for immigrants throughout their journey of migration (Lamphere 1992)? This analysis attempts to document the human agency of immigrants and there experiences throughout the journey. A recent study shows that there are 11 million undocumented immigrants in the Unites States, six million are of Mexican decent or about 57 percent–came from Mexico (Passel 2005). The study also claims that 23 percent come from other Latin American countries or a total of 2.5 million. The same study also claimed that the population of illegal immigrants in the U.S. increased by 31 percent from the 8.4 million in 2000 to the 11 million in 2005 (Passel 2005). In 2002 the Pew Hispanic Center found that the Salvadorans in the US had increased 65% between 1990 and 2000 (Suro 2002). These figures delineate that Latin American immigration is ever-increasing. The focus of this analysis is to analyze the experiences of undocumented immigrants from Latin America that journey through Central America or Mexico to get to the United States. The question this analysis asks is how communities and individuals respond to risks that immigrants face throughout their journey ofmigration. Qualitative methods were used to more effectively understand how these “mediating institutions” emerge and how they are coping and responding to the plethora of risks that immigrant’s face everyday. Moreover, I have been able to better understand and learn about the many of the experiences and dangers that undocumented immigrants encounter while trying to reach the US.