This interview was featured in KBI and Ignatian Solidarity Network’s “Witness from the Border” webinar on Title 42 premiered on April 21st, 2022.
Interviewer: Can you introduce yourself?
Zaida: I’m Zaida.
Interviewer: Where do you come from and why did you leave your town?
Zaida: I come from Guerrero and I left because of persecution. Persecution that just leads to death. These are things that the cartels do. We are forced to go out to save our lives, since they not only torture us but also kill us. It’s not just one person, it’s the whole family. For them, the important thing is not to leave a trace of anyone, not to leave any evidence. That includes the whole family, be they children, be they women. They do not respect.
Interviewer: I’m sorry. When did you arrive in Nogales?
Zaida: On August 2, 2021. We have been waiting here ever since, when they gave us the news that there was no chance for asylum due to the pandemic.
Interviewer: How has your life been here in Nogales waiting until they reopen the border and lift Title 42?
Zaida: It’s hard to wait here at the border. It is difficult for different factors. It’s hard financially because you can’t find a job. There are even companies where they can hire you, but the fact of not having documents, because you leave with nothing, with the only thing you are wearing. It’s hard to find a job afterwards because you don’t have documents. Those who give you work pay you very little, that you can’t cover all the expenses. The rents are very high.
In the emotional sense it is hard too. Being strong every day. To say, “Soon they will open. Soon there will be a solution. Soon my life will be safe. Soon I won’t be in any more danger.” Because arriving here in Nogales does not guarantee our safety, it does not guarantee being safe. No one guarantees that the authorities will listen to you, no one. Title 42 affects you emotionally and that will stay with you all your life.
That hard process of arriving with nothing, of arriving where you don’t know, of arriving where you don’t even have the opportunity to bathe in hot water because the houses are not in good condition. Seeing your children, who can’t have access to schools sometimes, or to a doctor. It’s hard. They are traces that remain in the soul.
Interviewer: Thank you. You already know that the Government set a deadline for May 23. There are conversations to extend the deadline to continue the implementation of Title 42. Is there anything you would like to say directly to the government of the United States about this extension?
Zaida: Yes, I want them to take into account everything that we migrants are suffering. That it’s not easy to live day to day here, that it’s not easy because you don’t have any chance. The life of each one of us is in danger. Title 42 has led us to make decisions that lead to the death of thousands of migrants, thousands of women. That the congressmen realize that we are not a burden, we are not people who are just going to sit there.
We are people who want to be safe, we want a better life. One of safety and security. Of not having to worry day to day thinking that you can be found, that it may be you who appears in the news, that you died or that your family died. That they take into account these things, what thousands of migrants experience here. That this law, Title 42, has led us to death. Women, children, trying to cross, not for the American dream, but for safety.
A security that the laws here have not been able to give us, that they do not pay attention to us. Let them see all the suffering we’ve been through, everything we’ve been through, that it’s difficult. That the Government put an end to that law so that migrant people also stop dying, because they are dying trying to save their lives. They are dying. Throughout the border there are deaths, thousands of deaths, drowned or left alone in the desert.
All they are looking for is security. A security that due to Title 42 they cannot find anywhere. There is no where to go. There is nowhere to escape. Let them think about that.
Interviewer: Thank you very much.