Reflection by Caity Igarta and Julie Zavala
We started our morning traveling to Nogales, Arizona which was about an hour drive. When we got there, we could see the wall which was not at all what we were expecting to see. We didn’t expect the wall to divide the city in half the way it did. We met with a man from Mexico working with Borderlinks, named Manuel. He works with the delegations within Borderlinks to bring awareness and provide education about the border. We walked along the wall which consisted of a fence with lots of barbed wire to keep people even more separated. We had learned that they recently added more wire to the wall to prevent families from having meals and holding hands across the wall. We got the opportunity to see the Jose Antonio Memorial. He was a sixteen-year-old boy that was shot and killed through the wall by border a patrol agent. After the trial case, the border patrol agent was found innocent. This made us think, what is considered a crime? If killing a boy is not considered a crime, then what is? Hearing these personal stories about immigrants brings frustration and anger over our judicial government. We were surprised to learn that we are always being watched and monitored around the border by surveillance cameras and agents in their cars going up and down the wall.
After the wall, we went to a supermarket where we priced essential items and compared them to the price of labor in Mexico. We determined how much each item would cost for a U.S. minimum wage earner if buying power in Mexico and the U.S. were equal. After comparing, we realized that these essential items are much cheaper for us because of a higher minimum wage; whereas, those in Mexico are getting paid significantly less (about $4 a day) making it more difficult to get all that they need. After this activity, we came to the realization that we are so fortunate here in the U.S. where we are getting paid enough to make a living.
After returning from Nogales, we met with Eddie from Mariposas Sin Fronteras. Mariposas is an organization that seeks to end violence and abuse of the LGBTQ people held in immigration detention centers. Some of their works include: detention center visits, letter writing, bond fundraising, and post detention hospitality. Eddie shared his story as an immigrant from El Salvador trying to cross the border. He fled his country because of his lack of support as part of the LGBTQ community and the discrimination he faced. He shared his struggles that he faced when crossing the border. Eddie was taken to an immigration center where Mariposas helped him seek his asylum case. After the case, he became a part of Borderlinks and has been our amazing cook throughout the week.
Today was a heavy and eye-opening day, but we look forward to learning more throughout the rest of the week.
Mariposas Sin Fronteras