Freedom Folks

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Friends & Neighbors Update...

Mexican Theme Park -- How To Trick La Migra!

EL ALBERTO, MEXICO — “Run! They’re on our tails!” shouted a man in a ski mask as he led 15 people down a steep ravine and into a thorn-infested thicket.

Gunshots pierced the night air. Sirens wailed. Then came a voice, sounding like the Border Patrol. “Don’t cross the river!” someone yelled in a heavy accent. “Go back to Mexico where you belong!”

Welcome to one of Mexico’s strangest tourist attractions:

A park where visitors pay $15 to hike across fields and through treacherous ravines, a grueling experience aimed at simulating an illegal journey across the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We want this to be an exercise in awareness,” said Alfonso Martinez, who acts as the chief smuggler at EcoAlberto Park in central Mexico. “It’s in honor of all the people who have gone in search of the American Dream.”

The park, funded in part by the Mexican government, compares crossing the border to an “extreme sport” and tells participants that they, too, can “trick the Migra,” slang for the Border Patrol.

Real-life agents are not amused.

“If this is about training, obviously that’s not anything like what they will experience when they cross the border,” said Xavier Rios, a Border Patrol spokesman in Washington, D.C., pointing out that most migrant journeys last for many days, not hours.

He also criticized the organizers for re-enacting an illegal and dangerous activity — and profiting off that.

“This doesn’t seem that it’s conducted in an appropriate manner,” he said.

Martinez and others are undaunted, saying that the experience gives people a better understanding of the risks migrants take.

Every year, some 500,000 Mexicans cross illegally into the U.S., a perilous journey that has claimed more than 2,000 lives over the past decade. Many die of heat exhaustion, while others drown in the Rio Grande.
It sends chills down my spine whenever I hear Hombre Bush prattle on about our "good friends and neighbors" from Mexico.

H/T immigration watchdog

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