Morning on the Border Brings Hope
by Kathleen H.
Early morning in Tijuana families stand shivering in the cold winter morning. They are waiting in a line at Chapparal the Mexican side of the USA border for a number. It’s an illegal number by USA and international law. Mothers and fathers grasp their documents juggling their belongings while hugging their babies close. Other families stand huddled together as close as they can get to the canopy where the Mexican version of ICE announces the numbers of the few that will be called to go across the border today. They’ve been waiting weeks or months hoping that today their number will be called, so that they can go to yet another line to be loaded into a van, to get shuttled over to the USA side of the border - Ped East where Customs and Border Patrol will take them to a hilera (a cold ice box cage at the border) to begin the 3 % chance of being determined to have credible fear for asylum.
We look on and wonder what will happen to them once they leave on that van? Will they be separated never to see each other again? And the children, trusting in the moment never knowing that the next may be the last time they ever see their family. We look for families that may not have had a charla - a kind of Know Your Rights 101 crash course. At the border it has only just begun - and for most it will not end well.
One day we handed out tacos to 250 people many of them were children. It was humbling to say the least. Everyone waited so patiently, thanking us for two tacos wrapped in paper that we put into their hands. Old and young alike, each gave their thanks for what was such a small act of kindness. Each child and adult emanated a calm that seemed resigned.
We gaze out across the border and wondered why so many USA citizens fear these families? Why do they see them as criminals? How can they have such hate, such distrust of this small child grasping the hand of the mother as she cradles another infant in her arms? How can this young man be seen as a threat to their family and to their way of life on the other side?
We are not more and they are not less. They are not different from us. We, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and grandparents, the citizens in the USA would do the same. We would flee the violence and not risk the murder of our families. We would not passively accept the starving of our children slowly day to day if we believed that there was hope on the other side. A wall would not deter us. A wall would not make a difference if hope was on the other side and only death and pain were the ultimate choice if we stay behind. It is for this to bear witness, to show love and caring that we women of the Meta Peace Team - Border Team go and do this work in Tijuana. If not us who?