In the midst of all the controversy over the immigration bill, it is interesting to note that an amusement park in Mexico is using a curious method to deter locals from illegally crossing the border.
Parque EcoAlberto in the Mexican state of Hidalgo features a fake Mexican-United States border crossing that includes fake smugglers, signs, chases and border patrol agents. The simulation lasts three hours. Though the “Night Walk” poses no real threat, it is meant to be realistic enough to deter Mexican attendees from crossing the border.
“Our objective is to stop the immigration that exists amongst our citizens, principally from the state of Mexico to the U.S.,” a park administrator, Maribel Garcia, said in Spanish.
Garcia estimated that the local HñaHñu region has lost about 80 percent of its population to the North, many crossing over to Arizona and Nevada. Garcia hopes that the simulation deters youth in particular from making the trek.
Park attendants, usually middle class Mexicans, are not the most likely to cross the border, but Garcia hopes as the park grows, more people will be exposed to the attraction and will stay put locally.
The attraction has apparently existed since 2007.
Garcia hopes that the attraction will not only create awareness of the dangers of border crossing, but will also create revenue for the community.
The park is located 800 miles away from the actual U.S.-Mexico border. Maybe we need more of these attractions closer to the border.