Boot camp for illegals: Mexican tourist attraction provides simulated illegal immigration

Discussion in 'What's On Your Mind?' started by Mike, Sep 9, 2012.

  1. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Sounds like loads of fun ... :rolleyes:

    UK Daily Mail: Mexican town cashes in by offering tourists illegal border crossing experience: Thrill-seekers are chased through dark wilderness by gun-wielding 'border patrol agents' [VIDEO]

    The terrifying experience of attempting to illegally cross a country's borders with gun-toting officials chasing you down is one that most people would hope to never encounter. However, a small town in Mexico has seemingly proved otherwise by setting up a quasi-theme park that offers visitors the chance to experience what Mexican immigrants go through when they illegally cross the U.S. border. For approximately $20 dollars, tourists visiting El Alberto can spend their Saturday night getting a three-hour simulated experience of what it is like to be a migrant attempting to cross the border.

    ...

    With border patrol agents hot on their heels, the immigrants dash into the darkness with masked coyotes and polleros – the Mexican guides who escort migrants for a fee – barking at them to hit the ground as soon as a flashlight catches them, to keep running, to stay low etc. Guards in pick-up trucks chase them for much of the three-hour journey yelling for them to surrender and firing guns loaded with blanks. As they try and outrun the officials, participants must also duck under barbed-wire fences, dodge low hanging branches and avoid pesky cactus plants.

    ...

    Critics have suggested that the Caminata is run as a training camp for people genuinely hoping to cross the border but organizers have dismissed this. However, they do argue that the Caminata is more than a tourist cash cow. Organizers say that they run the Caminata to show solidarity with migrants and raise awareness about their struggles.

    Huffington Post: 'La Caminata' Gives Tourists A Simulated Illegal Border-Crossing Experience (VIDEO)

    Want to do as millions of undocumented immigrants have done and illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border? That will be $18.

    In the small town of El Alberto, Mexico, tourists can get the 'illegal' experience without being in any real danger, aside from some cuts and bruises. More than 100 residents -- an estimated one-eighth of the town's population -- are employed by the Caminata Nocturna, a simulated experience that allows tourists to act as migrants attempting to cross the border. During the four-hour Saturday night trek, participants must evade immigration officials and border patrol agents, while trying not to trip and fall in the dark wilderness.

    Since it's inception in 2004, the border-crossing 'theme park' has catered to thousands of people who want to live the immigrant experience without the harsh realities. Filmmaker Jamie Meltzer documented the hike in his film "La Caminata," (Spanish for 'the hike') speaking to El Alberto residents who act as border patrol guards or coyotes (smuggglers) and tourists who pay for the experience.

    "Most people come out of curiosity. We tell them that we don't want it to be an adventure but a way to raise consciousness," one of the guides says in Spanish in the film clip. "The idea is to put them into this situation to truly experience what a migrant experiences."
     

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