Sophy and I got up early to drive to the Tijuana border crossing.
Maybe it’s Trump; maybe it’s Mexico. The linea—the slow moving line of cars crossing from TJ to San Ysidro—has shifted from being tedious to an experience that is horrifying. The number of deportees is on the rise creating an even more desperate situation. There are still Mexicans of all ages hawking Chiclets, serapes, burritos, and ugly souvenirs of all description. Now the crossing is like a scene out of Bombay, with people parading their afflictions.
It’s possible to feel repelled and sympathetic at the same time. One young man was walking down the line of cars, showing his naked lower leg and foot swelled to a monstrous and misshapen size. To me it looked like elephantiasis. This boy—I doubt he was even 20—should be in a hospital somewhere, not walking barefoot over hot asphalt. When he came abreast of us I handed him some peso notes and wished him “Bueno suerte” (good luck). He looked back at me with an exhausted expression, but one without emotion of any kind. This poor guy was staring into the abyss.
Moments later, we came upon a man standing with his back to a concrete divider. Barefoot, no shirt, his hair ragged. His only garment was a filthy pair of sweatpants. The sweatpants kept falling down around his knees and his penis was exposed to passersby. He struggled to pull his pants up—really struggled—because he had no hands—they were both chopped off at the wrists. Sophy burst into tears and I was left wondering where the most basic human services were. Why wasn’t there a hospital van making its rounds, picking these people up and giving them medical care?
The Tijuana border crossing is the busiest in the world. Why is Mexico content to present this picture to the world?
Something has to change in Mexico. A foundational change.