All along the border between Baja California and, uh, California (aka the USA) there is a fence. People die trying to get over this fence, and not all of those who make this attempt are drug smugglers. In fact, you can be sure that drug smugglers and criminals have figured this out and the fence is no problem for them. They have even designed ramps with which they can drive a 4wd OVER a 10 foot fence. Yep.
Once upon a time you could take an old train from Campo in California to Tecate in Mexico. Campo is a little old railroad town and Tecate is a sleepy, pretty Mexican city with a brewery and a plaza and a sweet feeling. Time was you could park your car and stroll easily down the street into Tecate and enjoy an afternoon in Mexico.
Time was Tijuana was once easy to enter, too. It is a fascinating city with incredible energy. You could to watch Jai Alai, wander the streets, at Christmas go to the Christmas market in front of the cathedral, have your fortune told by a canary, eat “Zapatos” — cactus with beans and chili spread on top, enjoy the widest variety of tamales I’ve ever seen and say a Novena. You could eat the best carnitas in the world at Carnitas Uruapan or grab tacos al pastor from a street vendor.
Once I needed a passport, once the fence was up, I never again visited Mexico I was too filled with shame.
The people I taught when I first made the switch from teaching in a private language school to community college teaching in 1995 crossed the border three times a week to come to my class. In 1996, when my mom was ill and dying, they were the people who were ready to comfort me, to assuage my fear and to listen to the experiences I’d had in Montana. Once my mom had told me I was “more Mexican than cowboy” and, not to impugn cowboys, I took that as a compliment.
People who lived on my street in San Diego were, some of them, illegal immigrants and sometimes they were deported. Sometimes I found myself in the middle of it as when two little neighbor girls came home from school to find their mother gone and came to my house in tears.
The wall makes us look like stupid, xenophobic assholes. It’s a blight on the chaparral landscape and an ineffective barrier to desperate people who live in shacks made of garage doors. Yes. Really.
Never mind the deer, coyote, puma, bobcat, rabbit etc. who don’t recognize human borders and find themselves TRAPPED.
Here’s an excellent article that evaluates the “success” of the border wall…
Here’s an excellent and heart-felt article about the human cost of the border wall…