Australia is an island country and so, despite political and media hype, illegal immigration is so very tiny that it’s a non-issue. Asylum seekers are legal despite how they enter our country, and refugees are also legal migrants. Our biggest illegal population comes from visitors who overstay their visa. Most of these are tourists and international students.
In America however, the story is slightly different because, unlike Australia, the USA borders other countries and does have a problem with illegal immigration. People from neighbouring countries slip through border patrols and enter the USA for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with seeking protection or fleeing persecution.
Rendez-vous in Phoenix is a sweet and surprising love story told from the perspective of an illegal immigrant. It’s the autobiographic tale of Tony Sandoval, who was born and raised in north-western Mexico. After suffering the fate of bureaucracy, he chooses to cross the border illegally to be with his American girlfriend.
Without making any judgements, Rendez-vous in Phoenix opens our minds to some of the reasons why people choose to migrate illegally, while also helping us to understand the hardships and tensions that go with it. Sandoval provides the story, text and graphics and it’s a tense, heartfelt drama.
Sandoval’s writing is clever. He doesn’t try to persuade or manipulate opinion. He presents his tale ‘as is’, helping us to understand the reasoning while letting us form our own opinion. The graphics aren’t overly complex but feature enough detail to be engaging without distracting from the story.
Rendez-vous in Phoenix is a personable read that manages to be informative, engaging, and relatively neutral in a hot political topic. There should be more personal stories like this one in the uphill battle to educate an ignorant and disinterested public.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 8
Publisher: Magnetic Press, released through Diamond Book Distributors
Release Date: 8 November 2016
RRP: US$19.99 hardcover