La Frontera is neither Mexico nor the United States, but rather a space of its own filled with contradictions; a place where one day can drag on forever for the families trying to reach a new life. For those of us privileged enough to help them (even just for a few days), and willing enough to live uncomfortably in the grayness of their situation, it’s an opportunity to better understand the realities of seeking for something better without really knowing what you’re seeking for.
In just the first three days, I’ve witnessed a young family reach their “promised land”, yet I know that the drawn out process of being granted asylum may at times feel harder than the situations they leave behind. I’ve been welcomed each morning at the migrant shelter with smiling faces, even though they have every reason to give up. And I’ve watched countless Americans and Mexicans cross the border freely on a daily basis as if there is no border, meanwhile a migrant family sits in the 100 degree heat for days hoping for a chance to do the same.
If you think you understand the border, think again. I am quickly learning that the complexities of the issues for both the migrants and the United States are beyond the capacity of any news organization to explain accurately. I am witnessing the consequences of decades of failed policies and promises by my government to find a workable solution. I am meeting courageous families who are willing to endure almost anything for an American Dream that on many days I no longer believe exists. But most of all, I am worried that most Americans will never take the time to appreciate this always changing 1,000 piece puzzle.
Today I spoke to a mother with a 10 year old son who enjoys coming to my arts and crafts time each morning. They are from a part of Mexico that has recently experienced a dramatic increase in cartel violence. She told me that two months ago cartels entered their town and have made it so unsafe that schools have closed; her son no longer has any opportunities and the government has not been able to successfully intervene. You may at first wonder why this family just can’t move elsewhere in Mexico, I certainly have, but the reality is that most of us will never experience true systemic violence on this level. Luckily, most of us will never fear for our safety in a way that makes us feel the need to cross a border into an unknown world in hopes of finding peace.
Walking enthusiast, and kitchen experimenter currently living out my dream in Mexico City, Mexico.
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