With President Donald Trump's crackdown on illegal immigration, Americans are paying special attention to what's taking place in Mexico and along the southern border. An interesting discovery has just come to light: a theme park roughly 80 miles north of Mexico City, called Parque EcoAlberto, has an attraction, called "The Nightwalk," that simulates illegally crossing into the United States.
For roughly $17 USD (or $350 Mexican pesos) a person can make a trek through the simulation. If they're wanting an "extreme" version of the simulation, they can pay $24 USD (or $500 Mexican pesos) for an additional six hours.
According to park administrator Maribel Garcia, the goal of the simulation is to "bring awareness" to what the situation is like for those who decide to cross into the United States illegally. The amusement park was also designed to be a source of employment for those in the area, since the region previously relied on agriculture. The region failed to grow though because of its lack of roads, sewer, power and telephone systems.
“Our objective is to stop the immigration that exists amongst our citizens, principally from the state of Mexico to the U.S.,” Garcia told PBS back in 2013. “We try to help people so that they won’t leave. It’s time to create some employment, to work with our own and regenerate everything, or at least what we can, even though it might be slow going.”
Here's the website's description of the attraction (according to Google translate):
On July 31, 2004 Parque EcoAlberto started a very distinguished and outstanding service at a national and international level, THE NIGHT WALK.
THE NIGHTWALK is a totally different and unique concept that encompasses a simulation of how a migrant tries to cross the border between Mexico and the United States. Alberto was until a few years ago a forgotten community, far from literacy, which is why more than 70% of the community emigrated to the United States for a better future. The Night Walk Concept was born with the aim of raising awareness in our young civilians of the community, showing them that they do not try to risk their lives looking for "a better life in another country" (living the famous American dream), projecting a vision and a motivation to look at new productive projects.
The journey begins in the Catholic church of the community where the group participates in a motivational talk, emphasizing that it is not a training activity, and that it has the internal purpose of creating awareness and a source of employment for our residents. During the Journey, the values of unity, solidarity and trust are fostered, reaffirming in believing in themselves and breaking any short cut that may obstruct us in the race of life in order to achieve some purpose or objective pending in the life of each participant. At night, friendly integrity is induced by making contact with the flora and fauna. At the end of the journey, a great surprise awaits us in honor of our ancestors and people of the community who, in search of that American dream, have advanced their way to eternal life.
Note: The night walk next to the torchlight show is done only on Saturday and to carry out a minimum group of 30 people.
To make the experience as realistic as possible, the amusement park even has motorized vehicles that chase participants, which is supposed to be similar to what they would endure with Border Patrol agents. There are also mock drug cartel members in the simulation.
Here's a promotional video that hows what the encounter is like: