Visiting the Border Wall in San Diego

United Methodist delegates from Western Jurisdicdictional Conference

Today I’m visiting theU.S.-Mexico Border Wall and Friendship Park on the border of Mexico near Tijuana and San Diego.  Several delegates and observers from the Western Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church feel strongly that the Church should  identify more closely with immigration justice and offer radical hospitality to displaced families in the spirit of Jesus, so we came to pray at the Wall.

US Methodists praying with Bethel Methodista thru the Mesh of the Wall
We met Anna Juliletta through the mesh of the Border Wall today.  Anna is a young mother with two daughters (8 and 12) who commutes from daily from her family home in Tijiana to work in the service industry in San Diego.  Although she has a ‘green card’ and could legally live and work in the USA, she doesn’t make enough to rent an apartment for her family north of the border, so she chooses to cross the bridge daily along with 135,000 other border crossers at San Ysidro (97% of whom cross frequently and legally).  

Binational life is not easy, nor is the 3-4 hour “processing time” at the border wall.  But its Federal policy these days to “harden” the US borders and focus on the 3% who try to cross illegally from Mexico to California to improve their life.

The San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Diego is the busiest land border crossing in the world.  The Mexico–United States barrier (AKA “border fence”, “border wall” or “tactical infrastructure”) is designed to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico and to hinder transportation of illegal drugs manufactured in Latin America.

Visiting Friendship Park is an opportunity to touch, pray and understand why at least 5,000 migrant deaths along the Mexico-U.S. border have been documented in the last thirteen years, according to the Human Rights National Commission of Mexico and the American Civil Liberties Union. 

Those of us visiting The Border Wall today are led by United Methodist Pastors Rev. Saul Montiel, GBGM Missionary for Immigration and Border Ministries, and Rev. John Fanestil, Executive Director of the San Diego-based Foundation for Change, who for six months served communion through the border fence at Friendship Park before public access was denied by U.S. Border Patrol in February 2009.
I’m in conversation with both Saul and John about the how we might work together to designate a “shalom zone” near “The Wall” which is “Not a Wall”   

Pray for us as we consider ways Communities of Shalom can cooperate with what God is doing at the Border Wall.

Many articles have been written about ministry at the border in 
The Rules of the Wall
The Border Wall between San Diego and TJ
Serving Communion through the fence is no longer permitted by US Border Patrol

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