“Guide for the Mexican Migrant” takes this a step further, not only explaining the dangers, but also explaining how to get around them.
In addition to warning that “crossing the river can be very risky,” the guide explains that the way to get around this is to avoid big clothing. “Heavy clothing grows heavier when wet, and this makes it difficult to swim or float,” the pamphlet reads. It goes on to counsel migrants that “drinking water mixed with salt will help to replace lost body fluids” and prevent dehydration while crossing the desert. Those who find themselves lost are advised to “use power lines, train tracks or dirt roads as guides.”
These phrases are clearly not aimed at discouraging migrants. Rather, those who may have been previously discouraged may feel more secure sneaking across the border with the booklet’s advice in hand.
If this isn’t blatant enough, the booklet also includes advice on how to avoid being detected once migrants have successfully crossed the border. These suggestions include avoiding “loud parties,” “fights” and “domestic violence,” and encourage migrants not to divulge their migratory status if questioned by authorities.
These are clearly not instructions from a government that wishes to prevent its citizens from illegally entering the United States, which is fitting considering that Mexico has historically encouraged its citizens to migrate.
As Harvard Professor Samuel Huntington explains in his book on immigration, “Who Are We?” this is because Mexicans working in the United States make a significant contribution to the economy of Mexico by sending all their earnings home.
According to Huntington, “the Mexican government estimated that (money sent from the U.S. to Mexico) would increase by 35 percent in 2001, exceed $9 billion and probably replace tourism as Mexico’s second largest source of foreign exchange after oil exports.”
It’s clear that the Mexican government has something to be gained from illegal migration and has, since the 1980s, promoted the idea of dual nationalities for those who are willing to sneak themselves across the American border.
In fact, Mexican President Vicente Fox described these people in 2000 as “heroes” for having left the country in search of opportunity and for their contribution to the Mexican economy”.