This is an example of adventure tourism gone bad and offensive. A nature park in the Mexican central state of Hidalgo is offering mock undocumented crossings of the U.S./Mexico border. That’s right, you too can run from a fake Border Patrol about 700 miles from the border for the low low price of 150 pesos — about $15 per person. According to the Austin American-Statesman:
Advertising… tells the pretend immigrants to “Make fun of the Border Patrol!” and to “Cross the Border as an Extreme Sport!” As craven as the advertising sounds, the organizers say they are trying to build empathy for migrants by putting people in their shoes. “We do this to show the people what it’s like, to make them more conscious,” said Hnahnu elder Luis Santiago Hernandez, who has crossed the genuine border more than five times.
This reminds me of a class I had to take in my well meaning but so off the mark liberal arts college in New England where required community service was part of a class on slavery. Nothing and I mean nothing can recreate the immigrant experience, especially the abuse and hardship that is almost always part of a border crossing. To market the experience as an extreme sport is capitalism at its most disgusting, debasing level.
According to the article reactions from those who have forked over their money to play “migrante” ranges from people saying they felt like they walked through the immigrants’ shoes to people saying, “It was cool”.
Si, bien cool.