Community and Transformation

Guadalupe in New York discusses more than just the faith of Mexican immigrants. It discusses more than just the Lady of Guadalupe and their devotion to this icon.

While these are all important elements of Guadalupe, I found the most interesting component of this text to be the discussion of how “the undocumented Mexican immigrants involved in comites guadalupanos and Asociacion Tepeyac come to interpret, through their participation in these organizations, their ‘illegality’ in moral terms” (7). Community and religious devotion allows these individuals to better understand themselves and their status as undocumented immigrants.

Regardless of our personal opinions on the validity of undocumented or illegal immigrants, I think it is important for us all to recognize the difficulties these individuals face regularly. Work is often difficult, and supporting a family can be strenuous even in the best of times and circumstances. That faith and community in relation to the Lady of Guadalupe are able to help these immigrants cope with their difficult situation is a beautiful thing.

Through their devotion and companionship, many Mexican immigrants “come to understand themselves as more deserving of rights and dignity than their status as undocumented immigrants usually entails” (10). Even undocumented, these individuals are human beings and deserve to be treated as such. They have families and emotions and dreams which should not be discredited because they are not legally recognized as citizens.

In fact, Alyshia Galvez offers an interesting discussion of citizenship and the process of obtaining such citizenship as well as a discussion on terms such as immigrant, migrant, alien, etc. which I found to be particularly illuminating.

The topics of illegal immigration discussed in this ethnography are often difficult ones to discuss. Many individuals hold very strong opinions on this matter. Most importantly, I think Galvez stresses the importance of approaching such a topic with an open mind. Only through such a lens can we truly learn and understand to the best of our abilities and I hope this is a message that carries through the rest of this semester and our lives.

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