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Bad timing, or… Clueless in Naucalpan

15 January 2017


Not that there’s anything wrong with being an “illegal alien” and being in no position to wax (too) judgemental about the white people who did pretty much what I did (though I had a job… which proved terrible… waiting and changed employers without going through the then much more restrictive measures required for a working visa) I still wonder about people who move here with only the vaguest of notions of what they’re getting into.

Whether the poster is coming from the UK — which not too long ago had a referendum that includes making it much more difficult for foreigners to work or stay in that country — or the US — where a major issue in the recent Presidential election openly called for deporting foreign workers (especially Mexicans) — I’m not sure.  But either way, not the best timing to be posting a request for assistance in working illegally.

If the Facebook poster stays, she can look forward to the usual experience of any undocumented alien:  labor exploitation, low wages (and likely wage theft), some housing discrimination, and difficulty in obtaining public services (like ordering a telephone line).  Still, for some of us, it was worth it.

I don’t use the term “successful migrant” for those who are able to make a long-term transition to living here comfortably, since I don’t know whether just being adjusted to the country and living a modest life counts as “success” for everyone, but those who do stay with some comfort are those who get over the idea that a foreign degree, or simply speaking another language is enough to make them welcome.  Perhaps a “Masters in International Child Development” is a respected UK degree… whether it is here or not I have no idea, and what the market is for social workers or child development workers might have been something the Facebook poster might have considered first.

What seems to mark those migrants who transition is that they weren’t expecting a permanent vacation (although — with the financial resources to do so, have no illusions about their work and financial prospects (expect to be poor, maybe very poor by the standards of the global north) and aware of both the history and the contemporary culture is in your target country.

Mexicans are obsessed with their history, and whether one likes it or not, the undercurrent of xenophobia and mistrust one sometimes encounters, is there for a reason.  Assume what you learn in your own country is based on the perspective and biases of your home culture, not that of the Mexicans.

The daily concerns of Mexicans may not be the concerns of your own country.  Right now, gasoline and tortilla price rises are more important to us than what some home politician said about some other figure unknown here. At least know the names of the people that show up in the news (and that includes the entertainment news), whether it really interests you or not.  Despite the historic mistrust of foreigners (especially those who come as “missionaries or mercenaries”), whether one is all that interested in the issues of the day isn’t the point.  That things like a price rise or a major demonstration is likely to affect you is.

And… while it’s probably unlikely… immigration officials might start reading facebook pages where people advertise their intention to break immigration laws.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 15 January 2017 8:07 pm

    You’re correct…They are clueless. Unless a Company asks you to come it’s almost hopeless. I have assimilate and became a citizen…it was a long and painful process. I was an illegal alien at times. Yes I went to “interviews” and filled out papers at companies and had many photos tahen for those “Solicitudes”…Dont call us, we’ll call you… Until one day at Nortons Abrasives, the manager, a Canadian told me…. You would be perfect for this job…BUT… The government requires so much paperwork to hire a foreigner that its not worth the hassle. I thanked him for telling me that and meditated over that a few days and decided going to the states and working part time was a partial answer, later I thought… I have to do something that pays cash and is clandestine. So, I know a lot about photography, I bought a good 35mm camera, checked out lab prices and went to churches on weekends…if they had a flower arrangement then I knew there would be a wedding, a baptism or a communion. I would wait for the event, take photos, run get them developed , run back or find out where the reception was located and go sell the photos. There were other photographers and competition was fierce, but no one bitched, they were clandestine also. Ifinally got my papers fixed and became a “Translater/intrepretor”, I still do a little photo work…. but now clients come and ask me to do small jobs. None of these things are making me wealthy, but theres more to life than money. Also I’m in Mexico and I don’t have to listen to the BS in the USA… And yes I traveled all over the states and theres plenty of BS. Mexico has its problems but its not the same as north of the border. I can live with it here and after 50 years I understand some of the psychology here.
    So heres the thing to clueless folks… You’d better be smart, you’d better be an Entrepreneur, (It’s easier if you have money), you’d better have an attitude that even if you have less money you love it here. You’d better be flexible.And you’re going to have to take chancesOh, if you’re here alone it’s easier than having a family to support. Experience is the best teacher, it’s like sitting on a hot stove, you’re not likely to do it twice.

  2. roberb7 permalink
    20 January 2017 10:17 am

    A couple of thoughts. Isn’t the job market for English tutors and teachers close to infinite? And would being an Uber driver work? There’s the problem of vehicle registration, but is it possible to bring in a car from the US, then put UCD plates on it?

    • 20 January 2017 1:07 pm

      You assume everyone has the skills to teach. Just speaking a language doesn’t mean one can teach it, or convey knowledge. UBER? UCD’s as far as I know are only in rural areas. And, UBER isn’t used everywhere, nor legal, nor tolerated by the local taxi unions and/or authorities.

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