Q: When people think about border or immigration enforcement they usually think about Arizona or Texas. Are you saying border enforcement is happening in the state of New York?
Yes, I’ve had this conversation with a lot of other people. You’re right that the discussion is about people crossing in Arizona or Texas. But they don’t talk about the fact that once migrants cross the border, that’s just really the beginning of their struggle. If they survive crossing the border, then they have to survive getting to their destination. And for a lot of folks their destination is this part of the country—Sodus, New York, near Rochester.
They get here and the whole thing starts over again. They’re getting targeted here just like they are on the Mexican border. So there’s this constant siege mentality that leads to the same sort of survival mentality as crossing the border. People are hiding, not being seen in public on purpose.
Border Patrol has told me publicly that its agents are sitting in their cars looking out into Lake Ontario, waiting apparently for Mexicans to swim across Lake Ontario from Canada. But these people are not coming from the north, they are coming from the south. So I picture the commander of the Border Patrol sitting in his car, I don’t know, drinking a beer—I don’t know what they’re doing sitting there, you know? And all the action is happening right behind him. The Border Patrol agents behind him are picking up all the farmworkers.
Border Wars’ Todd Miller talks with John “Lory” Ghertner, a doctor who is a member of the Greater Rochester Coalition for Immigration Justice. For more background information on Border Patrol operations in Sodus and Rochester, see this article written here for Border Wars in July, 2012.