Illegal has been released for purchase by Aignos Publishing, LLC and can be bought at Amazon.com or directly from Savant Books and Publishing. Due to the fact that it is a novel, the Introduction had to be shortened to only two pages. Because I base my books on my social research, the uncut Intro resembles the conclusion of the qualitative analysis that would be found at the end of a research document. So, if you are interested, the following is the full introduction before the necessary edits were made for the novel Illegal.
Do not underestimate the fun and escapades that happen within the pages of Illegal as you study the facts in this Introduction. The following information is necessary for you, the reader, to get the most out of the story you are about to read. But, the facts underlying negative social conditions can be overwhelming. The information you are about to consume has been broken down and integrated into a stirring adventure and it is, unfortunately, what the people on the border between Mexico and the United States have suffered since the beginning of the drug wars.
Illegal captures a society in extreme unrest at the hands of the Central American drug cartels, but especially those in Mexico in the late 1990’s and 2000’s. Municipal presidents were killed by these powerful and illegal organizations as well as congressmen, governors, and mayors who tried to take back control of Mexican territories and towns. Mexico streamed red with the blood of its citizens with no exception for women and children, sending many to cross the border into the United States for refuge and to escape the poverty as a result of unprecedented violence.
People fled to the United States over the southern borders seeking asylum from an undefined evil. Their countries, even now, are not fighting a political war, but a war against criminal terrorism. When villages are plagued with chronic poverty and there is no food and no work, selling drugs is the only way for people to survive, and the ethos of the Narco counterculture is all or nothing. No one is an informant in the villages, for if they are, they are branded a traitor, tortured, and usually beheaded.
The evolution of this ethos has formed drug cartels. They are not just violent, but ruthless in their pursuit of ultimate domination. Women and children are randomly killed daily as a side-effect of the wars among cartels. The Mexican administration has little control over the drug cartels, as any officials vowing to end the organized crime syndicates that devastate the country, especially along the border between Mexico and the United States, are assassinated. Power and money are the objective and there is no respect for the law, the government, or social order. Since the arrest of Sinaloa drug lord, El Chapo Guzman, President Enrique Peña Nieto is breathing easier, but the Sinaloa drug cartel is powerful and El Chapo’s time in custody, unless extradited to the United States, is shaky.
At a time of severe societal strife and turbulence, hate groups and vigilantes have taken advantage of a weakened populace and inflicted their own brand of violence against women and children along the borders of Mexico and the United States. The Organization of American State’s Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reported women between the ages of seventeen and twenty-two have been kidnapped and assaulted sexually, murdered and sometimes their bodies defiled and dumped in the desert. Most were Mexican women, but some who are still missing were Americans visiting the area. By 2005, more than 370 women had been found in the desert murdered and mutilated.
Yvette Martinez crossed the border to attend a concert in 2004 in Nuevo Laredo and never returned. She was heard from last in the early morning after the concert where she intended to cross the border and have breakfast in Laredo. She has not been heard from since (ABC News, Chris Bury).
During an interview I conducted in February 2012 via anonymous communication with a man who had a brush with Mexican cartel culture and citizen affairs, reported that girls who have gone missing and have not been found dead have most likely been sold into prostitution by the cartels and sent overseas in order to keep the girls from being traced, thus maintaining the mystery of the missing women. It is particularly dangerous for women crossing Mexico from southern countries headed for the border between Mexico and the United States.
The book is based upon media reports, secondary research, and personal communications. Unless a person has an interest in unearthing the terrible violence against people of color in the United States, they are not in tune to the kinds of hate groups that make it their life’s work to torture and kill people unlike themselves. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is an organization that has its roots buried deep in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s. It has created precedence in Civil Rights cases by tracking violent white supremacists and filing lawsuits against them and winning. These groups were brought to justice by juries entering guilty verdicts and rendering monetary judgments in the millions of dollars as in the November 2008 guilty verdict of a Kentucky-based Ku Klux Klan. The law suit involved a nineteen year old Latino brutally beaten by Klan members. The court ordered the Klan pay restitution and punitive damages of 2.5 million dollars (Msnbc.com). I have referenced and patterned incidents in the book to exemplify the kind of racism practiced against people of Latino descent as recorded by cases tried in court by the SPLC.
Here, to put into perspective the kinds of hate and aggression that exists in the United States are only a few out of hundreds of examples of hate crimes never heard about in main stream media coverage. One such case concerned Cuban-born Pedro Corzo, who was gunned down by a fourteen year old, a sixteen year old and their twenty-four year old cousin in 2008. Their only goal that night was to go out and kill Mexicans.
Another case is cited on September 30, 2005 where six Mexican immigrants were hunted down and murdered by a vigilante hate group. On July 30, 2006 a sixteen year old boy was attacked by a hate group that call themselves Imperial Klans of America. The boy was beaten and suffered a broken arm, severe jaw injuries, and two cracked ribs. A report in American Stormtroopers; Inside the National Socialist Movement (2006) stated, “NSM bolstered recruitment by exploiting anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States by holding numerous anti-immigration rallies and events around the country.” White supremacy is their major objective. As you can see, hate is alive and well within the United States and remains unacknowledged by the vast majority of Americans.
A common assumption is that hate groups are comprised of white supremacists, yet hate has no color. In July of 2011, the black hate group known as Blacks for Equal Rights Coalition (BFERC) formed an alliance with FAIR, or the Federation for Immigration Reform. The marriage of these two groups allowed FAIR to remain simply a conservative organization for immigration reform, but now with the BFERC, militant activities were integrated behind the scenes (Anti-Immigrant, Nativist Extremist, Nelson, L., Aug. 18, 2011).
Considering all previous events in evidence, it is easy to recognize immigrants from South America and Mexico to be more refugees than immigrants. But no matter what the label, the status of the refugee and the immigrant in America can, throughout history, only be described as marginalized; the outsiders looking into a great society, eager to discover their niche in the grand scheme that is America. They, too, want to experience this capitalistic form of democracy, a better education, and the freedom to pursue life-long ambitions.
Nevertheless, due to rampant ignorance within the U. S., the documented and undocumented immigrant has transformed from a frightened and desperate person escaping violence and poverty to a criminal in a foreign land, marginalized by the color of his or her skin and stigmatized by myths and misinformation. Max Weber pointed to this kind of marginalization experienced by refugees and immigrants in his concept of social exclusion, but even after they become members of the society, they must struggle for better life chances. They are cast aside with labels stemming from misconceptions, stigmatized as the people accused of taking jobs from American citizens. Because they cannot read or write English, they are often blamed for bringing down test scores in schools. Americans resent them for taking up residence in places where other Americans could find homes. Finally, some Americans fear the procreation of refugees and immigrants who are having children in a country whose laws protect those children as American citizens.
Refugees are an ostracized group of people in their homeland who are forced to leave their country because of political, racial, or religious persecution. They leave their homes because of political strife and civil war and they seek asylum in host countries willing to give them temporary sanctuary. Unlike immigrants who are hopeful for a new beginning, their flight is involuntary, but necessary for their spiritual and mortal survival, and their desire is that one day they will be able to return to their country of origin.
People who are controlled by violence inflicted by the drug cartels and who only want to live in peace and are seeking asylum across the border are by this definition undeclared refugees. They usually cannot go back to their country of origin, even though many of them dream of returning home, and they settle with their families, instead of seeking individual sanctuary (Hein 1993). Not unlike refugees, trying to learn and fit into American culture is not a priority. They truly believe that they will one day return to their own country, so cultural conditioning becomes a conflict for them.
Americans, who are generations beyond their great-great grandfather’s immigration and assimilation into American society, forget their past and assume that new Latino immigrants should be required to adapt immediately to unrealistic standards. Although the United States is a country of immigrants, immigration is perceived now by many Americans as a singular problem; that is, Mexicans coming to the United States illegally to take jobs and social services from American citizens. There is also the belief that undocumented immigrants come to sell drugs, rape, steal, and murder. Most are here to escape poverty, but also the violence of drugs that developed from the Narco culture in poor Mexican villages.
Vigilantes and hate groups have formed and have grown because of a lack of factual knowledge. Many of them make it their primary focus to rid America of illegal immigrants. The Southern Poverty Law Center has reported over 1,000 hate groups in 2012 in the United States. Vigilantes sometimes stem from the hate groups, but also serve as self-appointed border patrol agents. Like other times in history, violence is the end product of ostensible law enforcement outside the realm of true law. On the border between Mexico and the United States a trifecta of violence has evolved and can be summed up as a perfect storm of ignorance, hatred, and greed. Illegal is a fictional journey into this complicated world interwoven with mystery and love assisted by compassion and friendship.
While you read this book, relate the information from the Introduction as the story includes depictions based upon the woeful facts. These references help the reader recognize the reality of what is happening to Latino Americans and Latino immigrants. Make no mistake, aside from the dismal circumstances, the story is a rousing adventure and portrays the life of a Mexican-American family and their friends as they try to survive in the border town of Laredo, Texas. It is rich in heart, and courage erupts in the most unlikely places. There is more going on than just drug trafficking and life there is not safe for many reasons. I hope you enjoy the mysteries and the exploits. E. M. Duesel