In this current social and political climate, migration and immigration are constantly mentioned and headlined in the media. We have heard about children locked in cages, families separated and deported, and people killed by border patrol agents. However, we do not hear the unheard voices that are directly impacted by the wall itself. We do not know the stories of ranchers that see people trespassing and crossing the border, organizations that plan water drops and set up camps, and undocumented immigrants who attempt or have crossed the border. We are blind to the harsh reality of the situation and the heartbreaking tragedy that these people have to go through everyday. For a week, I had the opportunity to visit Arizona and Mexico and learn about the wall that separates the United States of America from Mexico.
The wall that divides the United States from Mexico is not really a wall, but rather a fence. There are gaps that allow you to see the United States from Mexico and vise versa. The contrast between Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico is crystal clear. Nogales, Arizona has a population of 20,000 people, but has modern infrastructure. Once you cross the border, you enter Nogales, Mexico, which has a population of 250,000 people and decrepit buildings that look like they are from the 70s. The steel fence that separates these two towns ranges from 18 ft tall to 26 ft tall, and there was recently concertina wire or razor wire added by U.S. Army troops. The wall is already physically impossible to climb or throw huge rocks over, and the wire makes it even more dangerous and lethal. On the other hand, if you look past the wire and the fence, you will see beautiful paintings and graffiti on the fence.
These are some pictures that I took of the art that was painted on the wall.
Out of darkness, there is some light. While I was walking along the wall, I saw this flower growing through the fence. These art depictions represent a bit of hope in this age of negativity. To many, the wall symbolizes division and separation. The division of people, families, language, and culture. However, the wall also symbolizes unity. People on both sides, the American and Mexican side, are united over one thing: fear. Fear drives people to worry about their own lives, countries, and families. Fear ignites other emotions and actions that may contradict one another. At the end of the day, people all want to be safe, happy, and secure with their relatives and friends. It is up to us, the next generation, to strive and push for change because time is ticking.