My Encounter with the Mexican-American Wall: A Temporary Landscape

In 2012 I had my first encounter with the line that divides the north of Mexico and the south of the United States. It was in the Mexican city of Nogales, Sonora (ca. 250,000 people). A fence made out of steel and copper. For me it was a linear meteorite or a spacecraft that had recently landed on the city. Nobody seemed to pay attention to the object. It was not there 50 years ago but the fence was part of the natural landscape. A fixed object, like a mountain or a river. I watch the pictures again, after four year. Along the fence, buses, cars, restaurants, houses, commerce, people. The city begins and ends here. Life runs smoothly. The same fence is part of the built environment of other Mexican cities such as Tijuana (ca. 1.8 million people), Mexicali (ca. 1 million people), and Ciudad Juarez (ca. 1.4 million people).

The reason behind the fence is not compatible with today´s reality. In the Mexican side, 7 million people live in municipalities adjacent to the frontier. In the United States, other 7 million people reside in counties where their territories begin in the border. The presence of Mexican nationals in the United States without legal papers has declined over the last 10 years. (see After Canada and China, Mexico is the third trade partner of the United States, above Japan, Germany, and France. In 2016 the fence is an ephemeral fantasy. Its future is to share the destiny of the Berlin Wall, The Hadrian´s Wall in the south of Scotland, and the Great Wall of China, pieces of tourism that were justified only for a brief period of time.

The Mexican-American Fence, 2012. Ernesto Valero Thomas



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