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At our visit to HEPAC (Home of Hope and Peace) we learned about border issues and the work that the organization is doing to stabilize and better life on the Mexican side of the border in Nogales. We learned that is important to improve the quality of life in Mexico so that Mexicans will not have to feel like they need to risk their lives illegally immigrating in the desert. Thousands have died in the desert in the migration from exposure, violence, and other causes.

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Erich’s a member of the Clean Plate Club at lunch. A very sweet elderly woman hosted us at her house for lunch after our visit to HEPAC. She made us chicken mole, rice, beans, homeade tortillas, and other delicious dishes.

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We visited the border wall, something that has been heavily militarized over the years. This photo was taken at a section of the wall in the middle of Nogales. Gunmen towers, cameras, and other devices are used to monitor the wall in the city. Outside of the city limits however the wall simply stops. This was done strategically as a deterrent to migration. They figured that no one would dare travel into the desert due to the harsh temperature swings and dangerous conditions. It hasn’t stopped the flow of migration however and deaths have increased by the thousands. I’m standing next to Erich who’s 6 foot 2 inches and he’s barely a third the height of the wall. This scale shows how improbable it is that someone would try to scale the wall in the city.

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A mural for Jose Antonio along the wall. He was a teenage boy wrongfully shot and murdered by Border Patrol last year. There has been no justice yet for Antonio’s family.

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A view of Nogales from the top of a hill.

Later in the week with Borderlinks we went to Operation Streamline, a trial set up to prosecute 80 migrants at once to expedite the process. This is a miscarriage of justice because the accused’s rights are taken away to a fair trial and due process. Also, few of them speak English and understand the US judicial system. Before the trial each migrant meets with a public defender who can have five or six people assigned to him or her at once. In that half hour the public defender is supposed to explain the judicial system, the accused’s rights, and see if their client understands the law. In the afternoon they go to trial where a judge can take as little as half an hour to send 80 people to jail. This had a huge effect on all of us. I believe that this is the purpose of trips like this. Go out and explore. See things. Get mad. Make a change. Operation Streamline is unconstitutional and must be publicized and stopped.

Here is a link for much information on Streamline:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7NjMiITdlM

 

We love and miss you all,

Jane and the rest of IAM