My visit to the border last week went well: logistics were flawless, the people we encountered were amazing, and we learned a lot. But I came home feeling disturbed. Even more than after my four visits this year to San Diego/Tijuana and to Mexico’s southern border.
Maybe it was the relentlessness of the Trump administration’s non-stop assault on some very weak people. Maybe it was the grinding fatigue that the cities’ activists and service providers exuded. But when I got home late Saturday I was having trouble relating to family and friends. I was only happy with my butt in a chair, typing up my notes and my thoughts about what I’d just seen at this part of the border.
I figured I’d write a memo about my trip. But I typed and typed. There was so much to talk about, as you can see from the table of contents below. I worked a late night Monday night, slept a lot Tuesday night (had to give a talk in Spanish on Wednesday), and last (Wednesday) night, I didn’t sleep at all: I pulled my first true all-nighter, not even a break to lie down, in many, many years.
I just wanted to get it done. So much that I saw and heard was so out of balance and awful, the holidays are nearly here, and the writing became like a form of therapy.
12,000 words, some graphics and several photos later, I posted this memo to WOLA’s website late today. It’s sprawling, and honestly I’m in no condition to judge whether it’s easy to follow. But I feel at least somewhat better for having written it.
I hope it helps you to understand what’s going on at the U.S.-Mexico border after a very trying year, and what is at stake there in the next year, for all of us whether we live at the border or not.
Hope you get something out of it too. The memo is here.
“I Can’t Believe What’s Happening—What We’re Becoming”: A memo from El Paso and Ciudad Juárez
- The big 2019 Increase and Decline in Family Asylum Seekers
- Box: a Terrible 2019 in el Paso and Ciudad Juárez
- The Decimation of the U.S. Asylum System
- Remain in Mexico
- Conditions during the wait in Juárez
- Conditions for Cubans
- The July 16 asylum ban
- GACA: Sending people to Guatemala
- “PACR” and “HARP”
- Rights Issues
- Migrant deaths
- Use of force and community relations
- Wall Construction
- Security in Ciudad Juárez
- The Helpers are Exhausted