University students spend break in Mexico, but support Trump immigration policies


Mariele Saunders-Shultz, Contributing Writer

For many college students, spring break is a time to get drunk on a beach in a foreign location and enjoy warm weather. For the seniors at the University, this year the location was Cancún, Mexico. As I was scrolling through Instagram following spring break, I saw picture after picture of girls kneeling in the same pose, with some version of the same caption. Some of these captions read something along the lines of “never crossing the border again.” As a Mexican-American who has had the privilege to travel throughout Mexico, reading this statement over and over again brought me a lot of sadness, because I know there is more to Mexico than what can be seen in five days at an all-inclusive bubble of a resort.

There are numerous issues with resort culture as a whole. For one, most resorts aren’t a legitimate snapshot of the host country. A huge aspect of traveling abroad, even for a short period, is getting to know a new place. This includes a country’s history, culture, food, and people. Resort culture takes this aspect out of traveling and instead presents a completely fetishized version of the host country’s culture—a version that is meant to appeal to a preconceived notion held by Americans of, in this case, Mexican culture.

Individuals who can afford to travel to Mexico for their spring break are a select group of mostly affluent and privileged individuals, many of whom have little experience with cultures other than their own. For these people, this was likely their first taste of Mexican culture. I don’t mean to generalize every single individual who visited Cancún over break, but there is a huge issue with so many impressionable young individuals walking away from this trip with a very falsified view of my culture. So, for an individual to say that they never want to go back to this country without knowing anything about its history, culture, people, or even cuisine is truly disheartening.

The state of our current political climate following the 2016 presidential election made for an even more interesting Cancún spring break. I know many University students who voted for President Donald Trump and who took part in this sun-soaked debauchery. These people presumably also supported some or all of Trump’s immigration policies, many of which specifically target Mexico and Mexicans. Trump’s statements in June 2015 characterize Mexicans as “rapists” who bring “crime [and] drugs.”

This behavior is not limited to University students; an instance recently hit the news in which a group of spring breakers chanted “build that wall” while on a beach in Mexico—the exact country from which they are trying to restrict immigration. The irony of this behavior is staggering. Groups of extremely privileged college students were able to simply flash their U.S. passport and travel anywhere in the world, while at the same time believing that the individuals in the country to which they chose to travel should not have the same freedom to come to the United States.

The next time college students exercise their right to travel freely, they should also remember the privilege associated with it, and act accordingly.

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