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Day 3 of the Legalization For All Network Delegation to U.S.-Mexico border

By Angel Naranjo

Surveillance tower along border wall

San Diego, CA – On April 3, a group of activists from the Legalization For All Network hiked along the U.S. Border State Park Trail and toward Friendship Park. This park was created so that people on opposite sides of the U.S.-Mexico border could meet. In the past, families have used the site to touch and slip gifts to one another, but with the new Trump Wall, they won’t even be able to see each other.

The activists traveled dry and rugged, then wet and muddy, terrain that at times resembled quicksand. In some instances, the park trail would abruptly stop due to flooding from rainfall days before. However, the group was able to continue onward despite these obstacles by traversing through a stretch of greenery beside the trail.

About a mile later the group was met by two large border walls standing between them and the park. The walls run parallel to one another and could be seen spanning from the top of the hills in the distance down to the nearby coast. The group’s shoes and clothes were either drenched or covered in mud, giving the activists a glimpse of the extremely treacherous conditions immigrants crossing the border face consistently.

The fact that there are two walls means that people who are successful in crossing one are met by yet another. Those unable to make it past the second become stuck between the walls for hours – and sometimes days – without food or water. Border patrol does nothing to rescue them. Instead, they watch as the lives of men, women and newly-born children are in limbo. Oftentimes, it’s the people from the nearby communities who bring them resources that keep them alive.

As militarization of the border increases, onlookers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border watch as the already hostile terrain becomes even more deadly. The activists witnessed loud helicopters flying overhead and ICE agents driving up and down the hills alongside the border. Somewhat less visible but ever still present is a combination of tower systems, ground sensors, radars, license plate readers and drone cameras.

There are currently more than 290 surveillance towers already in operation throughout the Southwest – one of which is located near Friendship Park. This tower was built by Anduril, which declares on its website: “The battlefield has changed. How we deter and defend needs to change too.” The company has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying federal officials, according to the Guardian, and in a promotional video boasts that its technology never sleeps, never takes a break, never blinks.

Altogether, this technology is a testament to the ugly reality that the U.S. government would rather spend billions of dollars to put immigrants down than grant them their humanity. The increased militarization of the border in 2023 stands in stark contradiction to the calls for people’s freedom, in particular, those people living in the most heavily militarized area of the country, Aztlán.

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