From esteemed journalist Jorge Ramos, in what is indicative of the strained and even desperate times in which we live, comes a tragic story about the death of nineteen people, the final hours of their incredible ordeal, and the network of individuals (and countries) who profit from what is considered by many nothing less than modern-day slavery.
According to the latest reports, approximately three thousand people a day are caught attempting to cross the borders of the United States. Yet for every three thousand caught, hundreds actually do make it across and begin what they think will be a better life than the one left behind in their homelands.
The risks are immense for these individuals: the dangers lurking behind every decision made, every shady deal agreed upon, lead many toward the edge of mortality. Many fall off this edge and are later found dead -- an unmarked, unidentified corpse in a country where their dreams will never be realized, and, worse, their bodies never even identified.
On the hot and humid evening of May 13, 2003, at least seventy-three people boarded a tightly sealed trailer truck in what they hoped to be the final leg of an intricate journey toward their dream of living and working within the United States. The trailer they were riding in was to take them from Harlingen, Texas, to Houston, about three hundred miles away. The trailer never made it passed Victoria, Texas, a place that would become the site of the single worst immigrant tragedy in U.S. history.
With the passion and insightful analysis that characterizes his work, Emmy Award-winning journalist Jorge Ramos recounts the events of this chilling tragedy, as he tries to understand how something so inhumane can happen in the twenty-first century. Through interviews with survivors who had the courage to share their stories and conversations with the victims' families, and in examining the political implications of the incident on both U.S. and Mexican immigration policies, Jorge Ramos tells the story of one of the most heartbreaking episodes of our nation's history.
May 14, 2003, began as a day of hope for a large group of immigrants looking for a better life in America and ended as a day of unspeakable tragedy. Packed into a trailer truck like cargo, at least 74 men and women suffered dehydration, asphyxiation, and fear as they traveled from Harlingen to Houston for over four hours with virtually no air and no water. In the end 19 died, all male, including a five-year old boy. Ramos (Noticiero Univision anchor; No Borders) tells the story of the tragedy utilizing official case documents and interviews with survivors and investigative personnel. He places blame on the "coyotes" involved, primarily 25-year-old Karla Chavez, who faces life imprisonment in a May sentencing. The author also points a finger at Mexican and U.S. officials, proclaiming the urgent need for immigration reform and an end to such needless deaths. Like Luis Alberto Urrea's The Devil's Highway, this excellent account of modern-day murder is highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/05.]-Boyd Childress, Auburn Univ. Lib., AL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.