Maybe you’ve read the “Divergent” series by Veronica Roth, or at the very least, seen a trailer for the movie. In it, the Dauntless citizens are seen fearlessly jumping to and from train cars. But what if this was more than fantasy?
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, it turns out. Each year, thousands of undocumented children cling to the tops and sides of freight trains in an effort to cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Their hopes for a better future are contrasted with a fear of not surviving the hazardous journey. Like the Dauntless, they are brave, enduring “The Train of Death” on their ride toward freedom.
Many don’t make it to their destination. Many others are killed or severely injured along the way. As journalist Sonia Nazario told “Today’s Catholic,” they “slip attempting to grab onto the rolling boxcars or lose their grip as the trains careen over unsteady rails and are sucked under the grinding wheels.” The metal cars can be hot enough to burn flesh; the fearless children must also endure brutal gangs of bandits and merciless Mexican immigration agents.
These children are not coming to steal your job; they are facing life-threatening conditions to escape to the safe haven across the border. In order to quell the exodus of these “Dauntless” children, the U.S. must develop foreign policy that supports democracy, creates jobs and improves the quality of life for these people in their own countries.
This is the reality of immigration. It’s not nearly as simple as hopping a fence.