An American nightmare

For the more than 100 immigrants found at a house in Houston, Texas, the road to the American dream became a horrible nightmare when they became trapped as hostages, in subhuman conditions, in the hands of human traffickers.

The story of these men, women and children from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico is a tale of desperation to get to the United States at all costs, no matter what. It is a road that at times has a happy ending. However, many other times, it ends in rapes, kidnappings and murders in the hands of mafias.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents found these immigrants crowded together in one house, in underwear and barefoot, living in filthy conditions in several small rooms with access to only one bathroom. The agents were looking for a woman who was supposedly being held by coyotes who demanded from her relatives more money than previously agreed to release her. She was found in the house.

This is the danger that undocumented immigrants who cross the border seeking a better life are exposing themselves to. With their actions, they represent human desperation and the political failure of the governments of their respective countries—which were unable to give them hope for a future, a job and the minimum public security needed to develop their potential.

Many of them are also immigrants who later work in the fields and meat processing plants, doing the jobs Americans do not want, as well as in the services sector or as nannies in a home.

They are hard workers who generally come here to work or reunite with their family. Here is where their personal needs converge with America’s economic needs. It is a transaction that should be regulated within the framework of an immigration reform that allows the free movement of people to do those unwanted jobs, but without having to risk their lives.

Until something is done to respond to the two needs mentioned, criminals will be the ones who continue despicably taking advantage of human desperation.