Build Bikes, Not Walls: A Reflection on Open Borders

It was August 2019, and I was at Imperial Beach, south of San Diego. Five hundred miles away (seemingly) was Tijuana and a hulking border wall that juts out more than 100 feet into the foaming Pacific Ocean. Before I knew it, my (almost) four-year-old was making a beeline for the wall. Above us, a Border Patrol agent perched on the embankment was more preoccupied with the surfers out in the Pacific Ocean who seemed to be antagonizing him by sliding back and forth across the boundary line between Mexico and the United States. But soon the agent turned his attention to William, who was running to the rust-colored bollard wall where we could see people standing on the other side, also on the beach but in Tijuana, a couple of them waving. The agent’s disembodied voice boomed over the intercom, sounding both robotic and godlike. I don’t remember what he said exactly, but he demanded that William not take a step further toward the wall. I almost felt bad for the agent, being forced to yell at surfers and a mischievous four-year-old while surveying the beach in Mexico and people lounging under their sombrillas.

On the sand, about 20 feet from the border wall, William had questions. Why couldn’t we talk to the people waving at us from the other side of the wall? Why was the wall even there? After I explained, he told me with decisively, “We’re going to smash the border wall.” Then, after a celebratory pause: “And after we smash the wall, we are going to turn it into bikes.”

Read the rest here from The Border Chronicle.

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