A More Friendly Route for Migrants: Into U.S. Via Canada
Sometimes, the longer route is easier. Due to the stepped-up security on the U.S.-Mexico border, an increasingly popular route for undocumented Mexicans has emerged that takes them by air to Vancouver, and overland into the United States across the less carefully patrolled Canadian border.
The Vancouver route is also attractive because the Canadian government offers temporary jobs through a well-organized guest worker program for Mexicans, according to a story published June 21 by Los Angeles bilingual weekly Eastern Group Publications.
The Canadians also offer the guest workers language classes in order to help them adapt to life there, said the story, which cited a recent report on emigration by the Mexican Institute for Statistics and Geography.
According to the report, Mexican migration north and then into the United States has increased by 70 percent since 1994, when the United States launched Operation Guardian, meant to guard the urban areas along the Mexican-U.S. border to prevent illegal crossings, said EGP, in the story by reporter Elda M. Arroyo Macias.
The majority of those migrating to the United States are men between the ages of 25 and 34 fleeing economic hardship in rural areas of states like Jalisco, Oaxaca, Michoacán, Durango, Zacatecas, Chiapas y Guanajuato, said EGP. But the report said that the number of Mexican women heading to the United States was also on the rise.
‘I am American, not Latino or
The emergence of Latinos as a major demographic force in the United States has caused a bit of confusion: is the correct term Latino or Hispanic? If Latino refers only to ethnicity, then what “race” is a Latino of mixed Indian, European and African heritage?
One letter to the editor published in Los Angeles Spanish-language daily La Opinión on June 23 added a new twist to the endless debates over Latino terminology and identity. The reader, who identified himself only with the apparent pseudonym of Marco Aurelio Greco, wrote that he would be offended if he were a descendant of any of the Latin American tribal groups and he was referred to as a “Latino.”
“My thesis is that only Italians are Latinos, and only them,” wrote Greco, referring to the fact that Latino is a Spanish-language term that refers to the language Latin, or people who spoke it in the times of the Roman Empire.
But Greco said he didn't want to be called an Amerindian either -- as indigenous people from the Americas are often referred. Amerindian is a word invented by those who wanted to appropriate the root word --American-- since they are estranged from their own roots, Greco said. He proposed that only those people “descended from the original settlers of the continent” have the right to be called American.
Greco, however, left out one fact that could confuse the issue further. The New World landmass, America, was named after the Italian cartographer and explorer Amerigo Vespucci. Should the New World's indigenous populations be named after a real Latino?