I just returned from visiting a friend roughly 30 miles north of the US human-designated Arizona “Border”. We went to the Lukeville crossing. He bought gas. I watched a Dad and his three kids walk toward the fortified entrance/exit. The pre-teen girl twirled in a few cautious pirouettes. I wanted to ask the family if they knew what was happening to incarcerated South and Central American and Mexican families who had tried to come into the “United States” of America. I didn’t want to compromise my friend – or myself – so I kept my mouth shut.
My friend and I explored the abandoned motel and RV Park (Gringo Pass.) a few hundred yards from the border crossing. We didn’t go into Mexico. When we stopped at the highway checkpoint on the way back to our camp, the BP agent questioned my friend. “Did you go anywhere in the area?” It was clear that the BP agent was corroborating his surveillance info about our exploration of Gringo Pass. My friend answered. His words are his, but he was clearly furious.
I kept my mouth shut. I’m an old-time radical and remembered the sign posted next to a commune wall phone in 1968: “Loose Lippies Bust Hippies!” My friend defused the tension. Again, his words are his.
He and I are old and white. Despite that, I can imagine data being collected as I post this comment. Nonetheless, I am haunted by the cheerful tourist family – I imagined they were oblivious. I wonder what I could have said to them to make them understand. And, I imagine the incarcerated families. What could I have said on their behalf to an armed and uniformed Border Patrol agent in full Command Presence? In the front seat of my rapidly heating-up car in Lukeville. Arizona, no words seemed enough. Here, I commit this tiny act of resistance. Here, I give you the reality of border surveillance.
It is your turn. We are all haunted – whether we know it or not. Imagine a river. Imagine how you might cross it. Imagine that you were being hunted. Imagine where the tracks in Theresa Souer’s photograph lead.
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