A dramatic ad, commissioned by U.S. homeland security officials to discourage youngsters from Central America from crossing the southern border, depicts the death of a youth on his way to America to make “great money.”
The public service announcement, in Spanish, is airing in Guatemala as part of U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials’ $1 million multimedia campaign to deter future border crossers.
CPB’s campaign includes about 6,500 public service announcements to run on radio and television in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala through Sept. 7, the Associated Press reports. Billboards throughout Central American countries will warn parents about the dangers of the journey to the U.S.
The Dangers Awareness Campaign also will run in U.S. cities with large Central American populations, including Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and Washington, D.C.
Here is a transcript of the video dramatizing the death of the youth. It opens with his letter being read aloud by an uncle in America. Called “We Must Protect Them,” the ad’s script was translated into English by a policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation:
Dear Uncle: My mom continues warning me about heading north. She tells me the maras [violent street gangs] are on the train and the [Mexican] cartels kidnap immigrants. That you have to walk for endless days in the desert. That might be the case, but there are no rewards for those who don’t risk it. I can already imagine myself in the States making great money and relieving my mother’s worries. Thanks, Uncle, we’ll see each other soon.
Then comes the voice of an announcer over images of the boy’s fate:
This idea that it’s now easier for our children to receive documentation in the U.S. is false. What’s true is that we’d be subjecting them to the elements, to the coyotes [violent smugglers of humans], and the [Rio Grande] river. They are our future. We must protect them.