Unit 4: Destination Reflection - Arizona/Mexico

Please listen to this song, “La Bestia,” which was originally created by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to discourage migration, but became an unexpected pop hit in Central America.

The song describes the notorious train ride across Mexico that carries many people from Central America to the U.S. border. Migrants on these trains are frequently the victims of kidnapping and torture, mostly at the hands of criminal gangs trying to extort ransom payments from the migrants’ families. The satanic name “La Bestia,” or “The Beast,” alludes to these and other perils.

  • What feelings does this song bring up for you?
  • Does the story of “La Bestia” affect or alter your understanding of the politics of immigration? Does it change your view of the challenges migrants face?
  • How do you feel about the suggestion that people facing the perils of this journey on “La Bestia” are best thought of as refugees, needing asylum from violence, rather than as immigrants?
  • This song describes a literal crossing of boundaries – the theme of our unit. In what other ways might it be relevant to our discussion in Unit 4?


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