Uncomfortable Truths along the Border

us mexico border photo
The US-Mexico Border Photo by brookebinkowski

In the fall of 2014, fourth-year students Melissa Palma and Hana Khidir left Iowa City for Texas’ Rio Grande Valley for an international health elective pediatrics rotation.  Their experiences there, along the porous border between the US and Mexico, brought home to them some truths that aren’t well-known to most Americans.

For instance, the ‘popular’ version of immigration is one of immigrants crossing the border from Mexico and committing crimes and taking jobs from American workers.  But the truth involves huge numbers of children, the so-called unaccompanied minors fleeing desperate conditions–violence that has taken many of their parents and families from them, leaving them completely alone–that leave them no choice but to leave their homes to end up in detention centers in the US.

Melissa and Hana’s stories of conditions there–of overwhelmed systems, children in limbo, and desperation–are  worth adding to the popular understanding of the “undocumented immigrant.”

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