December 21, 2023
Donkey Route: The Perilous Journey to the American Dream Explored in SRK’s ‘Dunki’
- Shah Rukh Khan’s upcoming film, “Dunki,” sheds light on the treacherous path many migrants take in pursuit of the American Dream. This journey, known as the Donkey Route, charts a perilous course from India to the United States, exposing the hardships, dangers, and sacrifices endured by those seeking a better life.
The Route’s Genesis: Latin America
- The Donkey Route’s initial leg involves reaching Latin American countries like Ecuador, Bolivia, and Guyana, often facilitated by agents with connections to human trafficking networks. The choice of destination depends on these agents’ links, leading migrants to countries where visas are attainable for Indian citizens.
Challenges and Delays
- While reaching Latin American nations might not be challenging, the wait can span months. Agents often stall migrants in cities like Mumbai, awaiting signals from their contacts before proceeding. Some secure direct visas to Mexico from Dubai, yet landing there directly is deemed riskier due to potential encounters with local authorities.
Crossing the Darién Gap: A Hazardous Stretch
- From Colombia, migrants face the harrowing Darién Gap, a perilous forest between Colombia and Panama. This treacherous passage harbors threats of water scarcity, wildlife encounters, and exploitation by criminal groups. Surviving this leg takes eight to ten days, but fatalities result in no means to repatriate the deceased.
Coordination and Perilous Transfers
- Guatemala becomes a pivotal transit hub, where migrants transition to new traffickers to continue their journey into Mexico. Instances of evasion from authorities, like Gurdaspur youth Gurpal Singh’s tragic demise in a bus accident while fleeing Mexican police, underscore the risks faced throughout the route.
Alternatives and Continued Risks
- While some routes aim to bypass the perilous forests, such as starting from San Andrés to Nicaragua, they offer little respite from dangers. Boats ferry migrants to Mexico, culminating in attempts to breach the US-Mexico border, either through fences or the hazardous Rio Grande river.
Detention and Asylum Quest
- Upon crossing, migrants often face detention in US camps, awaiting assessment for asylum. Their fate hinges on the discretion of US authorities, marking the culmination of a perilous journey fraught with uncertainties.
Evolving Routes and Costs
- An evolving trend now sees migrants traversing Europe before reaching Mexico, offering a supposedly safer alternative. However, dependence on agents and traffickers remains, and heightened scrutiny might force a return to the traditional route.
- The Donkey Route to the American Dream stands as a perilous odyssey marked by exorbitant costs, dangers, and uncertainties. Despite the risks highlighted through appeals and distressing accounts, the allure of a better life in the US continues to drive many to embark on this treacherous journey.