In 1992 Jorge Durand, a social anthropologist and geographer at Mexico’s University of Guadalajara, coordinated a series of in-depth interviews with Mexican migrants who had experienced the hard journey to the United States. One of these migrants, a man named Aurelio, crossed the US border dozens of times, only to be captured and sent home by US authorities on every single occasion. “El Norte es como el mar,” he told his interviewer. “The north is like the sea.” He went on to explain, “When I hear people speak [of the United States], I am quickly made to think of the ocean…. When one travels as an illegal, he is dragged like the tail of an animal, like trash. I imagined how the sea washes trash onto the shore, and I told myself, maybe here it’s just like I’m in the ocean, being tossed out again and again.”
Francisco Cantú, "Has Any One of Us Wept." New York Review of Books, Dec. 2018.