Ridgway, Colorado, resident John Randolph knows that the immigrants crossing the Mexico/United States border undergo trauma. A former Border Patrol agent, Randolph currently addresses this trauma through song.
After 26 years as a Border Patrol agent, Randolph has become extremely active in using his singing voice to promote better immigration policies. Singing in both English and Spanish, his songs are topical, reflecting on the difficulties of attaining U.S. Citizenship, for example. He uses music as a new way to convey the messages articulated by immigration advocates from both Mexico and the United States.
Randolph says the main purpose of his music is to promote a deeper understanding of immigration issues among the general public in the United States.
“I’m asking people to inform themselves before accusing the undocumented people for coming here. The problem is much more serious than what our politicians want to have us believe,” Randolph said in an interview with Efe.
In addition to sharing his songs, Randolph is currently heading a petition on the website change.org for the United States to sanction Mexico, pressuring it to provide its workers with higher wages. The petition, Randolph hopes, will allow more U.S. citizens to connect the great influx in U.S. immigration from Mexico with the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, which ultimately led to the perishing of several small Mexican farms and businesses, according to Efe.
While Randolph’s use of bilingual songs to promote immigration reflect his unique viewpoint, using song to promote immigrant rights has long been a tactic used on American soil. Early 20th century immigrant workers in the United States from Poland, Ireland and many other nations used folk music to promote an eight-hour work day and the right to work-free weekends, a policy that has become largely institutionalized in today’s modern employment structure. Songs also included lyrics focusing on the unjust treatment of workers, their families and children.