Would You like to play at being an illegal immigrant?

I thought those pretend Paintball war games were sad enough but this…??  I heard about it for the first time on tonight’s news.

Is it not kind of sick?  It’s A Mexico theme park thing whereby the paying public get to pretend they are attempting to illegally enter the States.   They get to enact an attempted escape across the border into the States, trying to flee Mexico in search of a better life. 

This amusement recreates real life scenarios of desperate immigrants trying to illegally cross the border into America.  And you get to be (pretendingly) shot at, arrested and driven away in a police vehicle if you’re not successful.  It gives you the chance to experience life as a desperate would-be immigrant trying to illegally cross the border into that *golden-land-of-opportunity*.

According to the creators of the amusement, they only want to “raise people’s consciences about what immigrants go through.”   So… apparently, it’s a valuable life-lesson for the immigrant-weary public who may be more able to empathise with the illegals after their simulated ‘experience’.  Oh!

And they further try to justify it by saying that Doctors Without Borders has set up camps around America to demonstrate refugee camp life.  Well come on!!  It’s not quite so participatory!

I say some people just have warped minds.  The illegal immigrant’s run is a desperate and extremely dangerous event and thrill-seeking tourists should really have the good grace to realise this and find their kicks somewhere that doesn’t insult the wretchedness of human desperateness.


12 responses to this post.

  1. Amen. And amen.


  2. That is so warped and weird it is something you would actually imagine being set up in America. Aren’t the American worried that the Mexican’s will be getting in practice and encourage more people to attempt this?
    Just a thought.


  3. I saw this on The World news on BBC4. It came across to me as an educational idea; to frighten people into not leaving their country & to stay in Mexico to make their country better.

    I think it was culturally difficult for the BBC reporter to understand what was going on & therefore their report wasn’t balanced or clear.

    Migration over to their rich neighbour is a huge problem that dominates Mexican life. It splits families & drives a wedge through Mexican society. I think the so-called theme park (which it obviously wasn’t), is a novel way of trying to understand those traumas of migration & of the feeling of those left behind.

    They should run this education programme in the west African countries & in Tangiers. More young men may then stop losing their lives trying to get to Europe, a Europe that doesn’t want them & will treat them like dirt anyway.


  4. Globalisation, what do we understand by that? I wonder how many American corporations are working in Mexico. I’m sure that thousands of them, mainly those to do with oil or natural resources.

    Corporations don’t want to have anything to do with migrations but in fact it’s their activities that provoke them.

    I know of one case here that a local builder used some immigrants from Senegal in his building activities, paying them the normal wages. Once they were conversant with the work he sent them back to Senegal, set up a building company and used them as bosses with the same wages he paid them here. In Senegal those wages are high by their earning standards.

    What do you think the other Senegalese do? Simply try to emigrate here.


  5. Jose

    Your Senegalese example is an excellent example of how migration can work for everyone.

    I work with/manage people from West Africa. They are not here beause they love the UK way of life. They do appreciate the services/support/opportunities available to them in the UK though. They put their kids through school; they rely on council accommodation; they save money for property & business ventures back home; they always plan to return to their country but never quite know when – maybe to retire.

    So, yes, of course people migrate. The point about earthpal’s post (I think) is whether or not this ‘theme park’ exercise in ‘crossing the border’ serves any useful point. We’d need to know those initiative this is & who is funding it. If it is an idea from the US side then I’d have deep reservations about what is trying to be achieved. If it is a Mexican initiative then I think I would be able to see where they are coming from.


  6. Hi all,

    From what I can gather it’s a Nature park dedicated to outdoor adventure and is communally owned but partly funded by the Mexian government. Within the park, the attraction itself is being promoted as an *extreme sport*. Some people say it’s nothing but a training ground for would-be illegals but I’d say this is hardly likely because it costs about $18 a go and desperate illegals surely wouldn’t have that cash to spare.

    The event might have some small value if it actually deterred would-be illegals from making this extremely dangerous run but it’s not likely to be reaching the correct target if people can afford to pay the $18 dollars to take part.

    I can understand the Mexicans for trying to make money from a very willing paying public but I can’t understand the mentality of those who’d pay to play this. If this simulation is a valuable lesson in raising awareness of the immigration plight then surely it should be done in a proper educational setting. Not as a thrill-seeking adventure.

    Let’s face it, the people who are paying for this attraction are doing it for fun. And that’s where it really goes stale in my view.


  7. And does anyone really need to enact an illegal cross-border run in order to feel empathy for those who take such risks in search of a better life for themselves and their families?

    I don’t. My heart already bleeds for people around the globe who have to endure desperate plights. The only people who could perhaps benefit from “plight-simulations” (my phrase…I’m coining it!) are the hard-hearted bigots of the world and the people who cause the plights in the first place, the George Bushes and the Ariel Sharons….


  8. Maybe it’s for the Mexican middle classes, to help them empathise with their poorer cousins. It does seem weird to charge £18 & have it as part of a theme park. This does after all look more like a sick business idea than anything else. Hmmm.


  9. Yes, maybe so Matty,

    I guess there are far sicker things that people do for kicks. Just seems to be yet another financial exploitation of human misery.


  10. I worked at a Shipping Agent at the time the massive emigrations from the Canaries to Venezuela, Cuba and in general America. It was disgusting how a few people became rich here out of the predicament of those poor persons who sold everything they had to reach the American El Dorado.

    Emigration is the saddest of the situations where the human being is involved.

    And this happens everywhere there are desperate persons fighting for a life, Mexico, Africa, India, Pakistan, etc.


  11. Very sadly true Jose.

    People are so quick to judge and condemn immigrants but they fail to see how desperate these people must be to go to such extreme lengths in order to flee poverty? Look at how many people have crammed themselves and their families into the backs of vans that are crossing borders. The risks they take and the journey they endure.

    Breaks my heart.


  12. We have had continuous examples here in the Canaries with people arriving in derelict, crammed small boats making thousand of miles at sea, some of them having died before arrival.

    People who embarked at an African port but that had made the long journey from India or Pakistan.


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