Sunday Reading Suggestions: “The Refugees at Our Door” and “Erasing the U.S.-Mexico Border”

Last month, the New York Times ran an excellent profile about how the United States has outsourced to Mexico a crackdown against migrants looking to reach the U.S.-Mexico border. The author, Sonia Nazario, travels to Mexico to meet and write about the people affected by this policy, many of whom are living in shelters across the country. She describes the exhaustive ordeals migrants have endured, walking great distances through difficult mountain terrain, and fearing for their lives against abuse from gangs, the police, and others. The profile includes compelling photography of people’s living conditions. Nazario writes:

Although President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico said when he announced the so-called Southern Border Plan that it was to “protect the human rights of migrants as they pass through Mexico,” the opposite has happened. By the Mexican government’s own accounting, 72,000 migrants have been rescued from kidnappers in recent years. They are often tortured and held for ransom. The survivors tell of being enslaved working in marijuana fields or forced into prostitution. Many are killed — sometimes they have organs harvested — in what’s become an invisible, silent slaughter. The government push has been interpreted as open season on migrants who have become prey to an exploding number of criminals and the police who rob, rape, beat and kill them.

In another story we wanted to bring to your attention about a new exhibit along the border that combines art and activism. Writing for the Phoenix New Times, Lynn Trimble describes how artist Ana Teresa Fernández and volunteers have begun painting portions of the border fence that separates Nogales, Sonora from Nogales, Arizona. They “erase” the fence by painting it sky blue, allowing it to blend in with the horizon. It is part of a broader campaign that has seen people do the same elsewhere along the border. Trimble writes:

Fernandez conceived both “paint outs” as a way of erasing the border. By painting the border fence blue to match the sky, she created the illusion that the fence no longer existed along a portion of the border. In each case, she worked alongside others to make it happen. About three dozen people painted with her in Nogales, including ASU students, community members, and her mom — whom Fernandez credits with raising her consciousness of the border.

For the full stories, follow the links. Enjoy!

The Refugees at Our Door

Artist Ana Teresa Fernández on Erasing the U.S.-Mexico Border with Blue Paint

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