Mexican ‘theme park’ gives illegal border-crossing experience without the dangerOrganizers say intent is not to train but to discourage illegal crossing by showing immense difficulty.
La Caminata is intended to show how difficult and dangerous illegal border crossing can be, organizers say.
A “coyote” in a ski mask barks orders: “We have to cross! We'll go in groups of three. Let's go!”
A small group runs down a desert road. Sirens begin to blare, so they veer off the road and down a rocky hill.
There’s a shout of “This is immigration!” and agents tackle a man to the ground. The others hide in the shadows.
“They found him,” a boy says sadly. “Immigration.”
La Caminata participants make a 7.5-mile trek through the desert with fake Border Patrol agents in pursuit — and pay $18 for the experience.
By Anthony Bartkewicz / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, September 10, 2012, 9:25 AM
Alberto, Mexico, sits about 700 miles from the U.S. border. Illegal immigration turned it into what one resident called a “ghost town,” but now, ironically, a simulation of the clandestine border-crossing experience is revitalizing it.
People pay $18 to go through La Caminata — “The Hike” — and get a taste of what it’s like to cross into the U.S. illegally.
“What we try to do here is raise consciousness about the suffering of the migrant,” said “Poncho” to documentary filmmaker Jamie Meltzer.
Poncho plays a guide in the simulation, while others portray border patrol agents.
Overall, La Caminata employs about 100 Alberto residents — roughly an eighth of the town’s estimated population.
“When we started the Caminata, 90 percent of our community was migrating,” Poncho said. “There were only about 10 percent living here. Now, however, we have about 35 percent living here.”
About 100 Alberto residents play parts in La Caminata. Some act as "coyotes" shepherding illegal immigrants to the U.S., while others portray immigration agents.
Another guide on the 7.5-mile simulation, Julian Garcia, told the Huffington Post that the intention is to discourage migration by showing how difficult it is, even if it seems like the opposite.
"Some people think we are training people," he said. "If we were training them, we'd make it much harder!"This article was originally published in forum thread: Mexican ‘theme park’ gives illegal border-crossing experience without the danger started by Ratbstard View original post