Immigrants in the 21st century come to the United States for similar reasons colonial immigrants came: in hopes of finding better life for them and their children. There are options in the US. The quality of life is typically better. Many people have fled countries south of US border to escape hardships. Normal high school books of the 21st century in the US do not adequately inform students about South America. They do talk about Manifest Destiny, but claim it ended when we reached the Pacific Coast. What our teachers and lesson plans forget to inform us about US business in South America. Nor are we taught about the US military presence in South America in the last half-century.
Life in South American countries can be rough and unstable. Changes in political parties can change the way people walk around the streets. After September 11, 1973, when General Pinochet overthrew President Salvador Allende, curfews where instated and military units prowled the streets of Chile. An estimated 30,000 people disappeared in Argentina between 1976 and 1983. People where kidnapped during the night or picked up on the street during the day. Torture facilities could be recognized through out the city of Rosario from the screams of the inmates. A stencil commonly found on the streets represents the bikes which where locked up, but never retrieved.
Similar experiences took place in Guatemala, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, and Panama. People come to the United States to create a life with a more prosperously potential future. Revista Envio said “By the end of his first year (1984) in office, the change Rios Montt had brought where notorious. Over one hundred international human rights organizations had condemned the brutal massacres. Figures ranged from 5,000 to 15,000 assassinated, over a million displaced persons roamed the countryside and over 70,000 refugees had crossed into Mexico or Honduras.” Undoubtedly some of displaced people wandered north in hope of a better life.
Juniata crossed the US boarder in 1986. “On my daily walk to work (in El Salvador) I would see thirteen people dead,” Juanita said. “What you make in an hour in the US is what you earn for full day of labor.” Alex Said.