For generations, people have drifted back and forth across the border that divides and unites El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
CGTN’s Toby Muse reports.
Like many, Gerardo Saenz’s life is split by the border.
“It’s kind of hard being in these two places at the same time. I have my family in Juarez. I study in El Paso. It’s like having two lives at the same time.”
On the streets of Juarez, families play music at the roadside to raise money for the youngest daughter’s education. And in the background, billions of dollars of commerce flows through every year.
Here, you’ll find little support for President Donald Trump’s proposal for a wall.
Freddy is a “pollero”, someone who helps illegal immigrants get over the fence. He checks to see if the border patrol is close. With ladders and pipes, he helps Mexican and Central American immigrants over to the other side. It’s a crime what he does – he charges $20 a person.
He understands why some Americans might want to build a wall, but believes most immigrants should be able to come.
“It’s like walking into someone else’s house, someone else’s garden. You have to ask permission. But these are families trying to reunite,” he said. “These people all they want to do is work.”
The House of Immigrants is a temporary refuge for those who want to head north. It’s boring here, nothing to do except shoot hoops and chat. But they’re grateful and wish it could last longer – they’re only allowed three days.
Albiera arrived last night. She wants to enter the U.S. – legally, requesting asylum.
“We are asking for political asylum from U.S. and hopefully, they’ll give it to us because our lives are in danger.”
She and her ten-year-old daughter have fled a region in Mexico drowning in cartel violence. She blames the White House for demonizing immigrants.
“It makes me sad to see my compatriots thrown out of the country like they were terrorists, killer – we’re not fleeing because we’re killers, we’re fleeing because we’ve been threatened with death.”
“We’re not going to do any harm to the U.S. – we’re going to be grateful.”
Gerardo has been watching immigration – legal and illegal – all his life. If the U.S. wants to see lower immigration, he said it might need to help these countries, Mexico and Central America, get over their problems.
“United States should get involved in the politics of these countries…to help them. To stop violence, stop the drug cartels. It’s something that’s not happening right now, but it should.”
The constant flow of people across the border, the meeting of different cultures, is what makes this line in the desert so beautiful.
“Nice to have a lot of diversification because it’s reminding you that we are humans and in certain way that we have no boundaries or borders in our human beings, being humans.”
And with that, Saenz drives off into the sunset.