You may have seen it on the news: Border patrol agents have been installing barbed wire on the border fence between Mexico and the United States. More specifically, however, they have begun installing wire in a little old city by the name of Nogales, located in Arizona, just one hour south of Tucson. This also happens to be the town I was born and raised in. And I'm here to tell you exactly just how traumatic my childhood was growing up in an extremely dangerous border town filled with filthy rapists, drug lords, and criminals.
Except, it absolutely was not. In fact, Nogales is considered one of the safest cities in Arizona. This city I call home is a vessel of countless fond memories I made when I was young. I remember walking down Perkins Avenue with my friends to Finitos, a small shop that serves flavored shaved ice similar to that of Eegee's (although every person born/raised in Nogales would argue that Finitos are definitely better than Eegee's), going downtown to Kory's or Bracker's to find a dress for extra-special events, driving through the port of entry to visit my grandmother, aunts, and cousins who lived in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.
When my family and I went to mass on Sundays downtown at Sacred Heart, we could always see the border fence in the distance. Although even back then it was not the prettiest sight, it was always amazing to see how our city was a crossroads between two nations with distinct cultures. Now, however, one can only look at it and be sadly (or angrily) reminded of how politicized the fence has become, how so many of the nation's citizens are demanding for there to be a wall between the two countries, exaggerating the violence that comes from Mexico and refusing to amend the issues of violence within our own country (School shootings? Remember those? Yep, none of the gunmen came from Mexico!)
However, on Election Day of 2018, the troops installed the first bit of wire on the border. Then earlier this month, the border patrol began installing more. The gleaming wire looming menacingly over the passersby at the DeConcini port of entry only helps to propel more of this administration's anti-immigration propaganda. Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino has spoken out about the concertina wire, stating that the wire only would hurt the economy, could be dangerous for children playing alongside the border, and sends a message of fear to visitors. Thankfully, the mayor of Nogales has spoken out and the city is demanding for the wire to be removed.
Seriously though, is the border patrol trying to make our nation look like a prison? Fill all tourists with fear and only perpetuate the false, hurtful stereotypes of the city? If our nation and government were truly concerned about the protection of our own citizens, then the barbed wire would be of more use in our schools to prevent school shooters from entering since people apparently value their own guns more than the lives of children.
I sincerely hope the border patrol will listen to the people and remove this wire. We must strive to be a welcoming nation with open arms, not blindly fearful of the unknown.