Yesterday we crossed into Nogales, Mexico through the Mariposa Port, simply walking in, no questions, no passports looked at. The view from right inside the Mexica side of the entry way looking west, looks like this:
The rust colored line running west as far as the eye can see? The border wall. Yes, it is there, in long stretches, keeping people apart, stopping animals from migrating as well.
After a visit to El Comedor (a mission for deportees, providing food, and medical and legal help among other aid; more on El Comedor another day), and a visit to a local cemetery (quite colorful!), we made our way to the area of Nogales near the other entry port, the DeConcini port. There, from a pedestrian plaza where most of the shops were either pharmacies or dental offices, offering cheap drugs and vastly cheaper dental care to all who come, including folks from the US, who look for savings from the expensive medical care back home. As you face north in this plaza, you see the following:
The wall separates Nogales Mexico from Nogales Arizona. What is this all saying? Its ok for us to come over to Mexico to get cheap prescriptions and dental care, but we don’t want you to come over to our country? We can use you, but we are off limits to you?
After we got some lunch, we went over to the area near the DeConcini port where there have a holding room for some of the folks seeking legal entry into the US through asylum. It is a small, cramped L-shaped room, maybe 15×10 at the widest spot, and there were about 15 or so folks living there, some for eight days so far, sleeping on mats on the floor, and there were two infants among the group. I did not take photos there, wanting to protect their privacy. What did we see — people who were hopeful. Even though they were waiting and waiting to see if they could reach the US, this safe haven they had been dreaming of for some time, they knew they were closer, and they were finally relatively protected for violence and exploitation. They were still in limbo, but safety and a new life were within sight, and they still had hope. Our hearts reached out to them.
There is more to come. For today (Friday), we gather for the Common Ground on the Border Fair, and workshops on various issues.