We are all immigrants

8 Jan

Throughout our time in Ecuador we have taken trips, attended lectures, toured the Andes, and visited social service agencies among other things. Liberation theology reinforces the idea that every person has different experiences and these individual experiences shape one’s perception of reality and their behaviors. Change is needed and it is important to engage the poor in the process.

Larger systems influence individual situations; global and economic trends influence the migration of the people of Ecuador. There are several reasons individuals choose to migrate, some of these include economic crisis, to get themselves out of debt, to build a home, and/or to join other family members. The Ecuadorian economy’s number one GDP is petroleum, followed second by remittances from immigrants (mainly from the US and Spain); over one million people in Ecuador rely on remittances.

We attended an immigration lecture and learned about one man’s migration experience to the United States. With the amount of debt accumulated by migrating to the United States he had to work three jobs, eighty hours a week to pay off the loan. In Ecuador there is a business for people funding immigration. It costs around $17,000 for someone to immigrate (undocumented) to the United States. Chulqueros lend the money to these individuals, with collateral put up for the loan, and charge around 8% interest monthly. The man discussed how he obtained his GED in the United States and decided that he wanted to further his education, but could not because he was in the country undocumented. The reason he then decided to return to Ecuador was to receive his college education. Many individuals who migrate to the United States wish to return to Ecuador, but cannot because there is not money available in Ecuador to earn comparatively.

We all have known or been around people who have migrated to the United States. Having heard his story really opened up our eyes to what these individuals have to of through to get there.

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