© 2015 by Marie Blair Yoga LLC

Birmingham, Alabama

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Bearing witness on the Southern border

July 15, 2019

 

 

I’ve returned from a church mission trip to McAllen, Texas. My heart is heavy. Here’s what I saw and heard:

 

Families camped out in the brutal heat on the Mexican side of a bridge in Nuevo Progress – a legal port of entry. The border patrol agent would not or could not say how many asylum seekers were processed each day.

 

Neighboring towns on each side of the Rio Grande –Progresso, Texas, and Nuevo Progress, Mexico –Brownsville, Texas, and Matamoros, Mexico. Historically, these communities have been good neighbors even with their shared problems of poverty and violence on both sides of the border.

 

McAllen, a city in the poorest zip code in the nation, with its own economic contrasts – substandard housing and Top Golf - in the national spotlight and tired of it, desirous of less finger pointing and national immigration reform.

 

The winding Rio Grande, picturesque and seemingly placid surrounded by green countryside bordered by sugarcane fields.

 

News crews nearby covering the story of a mother and small children found dead in these fields most likely due to dehydration.

 

News crews nearby covering the story of the father and his toddler drowned. The Rio Grande is deadly – strong undertow and invasive, weedy undergrowth that can pull under a person entangling legs and arms.

 

Stories of coyotes, human traffickers, drug smugglers hidden from our view but preying on these families desperate to get to our country.

 

Levees reminiscent of New Orleans. Human intervention like a border wall could upset the balance of nature with flooding and damage. An evening of torrential rain was followed by a morning of flash flooding with schools closed.

 

Concrete border wall built during President Bush