Two nights ago, our group arrived in McAllen, Texas, at a facility called ‘Border Perspectives.’ For the first time in 18 days, we have been sleeping in beds, showering indoors, and eating home-cooked meals we don’t have to make ourselves. Yesterday, we took an extremely important day trip to the border wall in McAllen. As pictured below, we spent several minutes with the wall in silence, thinking about what it would be like to be on the other side, trying to cross. We got to put a face to the name of this political boundary, and learned from Hugo, the pastor at Border Perspectives, about the treacherous voyages of so many people from Central America under, over, and across the border wall. We learned about Reynosa, the Mexican city on the other side, and how it is run by organized crime. Hugo has been graciously hosting all of us and sharing with us his stories of growing up in Reynosa and the work he and his family do with refugees camped on the border.
In a podcast we listened to on the way to McAllen, we learned about the extremely flawed process of coming into the USA legally. I had no idea how dire the situation on the border currently is: ever since President Biden lifted the country’s ‘Stay in Mexico’ policy, asylum seekers have been sending their children over the border, as unaccompanied minors, and these children are being forced to stay in facilities built for adults that don’t have ample resources for younger people. Other than this issue, asylum seekers and refugees have made camps on the borders, which are hot spots for crime and corruption. Many immigrants are being kidnapped and murdered while waiting to be admitted into America; others are starving and without water, and still others are separated from their families and lost. Going to the physical border was extremely humbling and powerful, putting into perspective all of those issues and struggles that are happening mere miles away from where we are staying. I am looking forward to the rest of the opportunities that await us regarding immigration and the border wall.