Over the past several weeks, we have tuned into various aspects of immigration. This week, we want to turn our attention to one of the grittier aspects of transition: the journey. For many who cannot migrate to the United States “legally” for one reason or another, this means they must endure a long, arduous, dangerous journey that can include violence, dangerous modes of travel, and surviving the dessert. Many do not survive this journey. However, what is important to note is that men, women, and youth make this journey. Yes, youth. Youth migrants are often ignored in mainstream discussion on immigration, when many young people come to the United States via the same mode of travel as their other family members and face similar hardships. Thus, we turn to Will Hobbs’s Crossing the Wire, a book that focuses on a young Mexican immigrant’s journey to the United States.
A book geared towards young adults, Crossing the Wire deals with the struggle that often comprises a migrant’s journey. The book chronicles the journey of 15 year old Victor Flores, who decides to immigrant from Mexico to the United States in order to find better economic opportunities after falling crop prices devastate his rural-based family. Since he has no money to pay a coyote (a guide), he makes the trip alone, jumping trains, stowing away on trucks, and hiking.Victor hits several proverbial walls in his attempt to journey to the United States, and it is this difficult, frustrating journey that many immigrants face as they journey North to find better opportunity.
I strongly recommend this book for the classroom because once again, it is a book that re-evaluates and redirects our conversations on immigration within the classroom. This book isn’t about a mother or father making the journey; it is about a young man who is barely old enough to work making this journey. He is a young man with whom many of the students in our classrooms could relate. Furthermore, this book negates the idealized version of immigration that often appears in discourse on “illegal” immigration. People don’t just appear on the US side of the border. It is often a long, dangerous journey, and not everyone who embarks upon this journey can make it. The book also adds the themes of courage and determination to this discourse as well.
I hope you will check out Crossing the Wire for use in your classrooms with young adults!
Until Next Time,