A simple question

Last week we set up a studio at a plaza in Nogales, Arizona, about a block away from the border wall. We asked people, “How has the wall impacted you?”

The first person to stop by was Claudia. She was from Mexico, but had her U.S. residency and lived and worked in Nogales, Arizona. She had married Emanuel three years ago and his immigration process had been delayed, then stopped by covid-19.

Emanuel still lived in Nogales, Sonora and was unable to cross at all. Claudia could go to Mexico to visit him on weekends. But she can’t move back to Mexico to live with her husband, or she would jeopardize her residency. That’s how it works (or doesn’t work, depending on your view).

“Do you want to meet him?” she asked.

“Of course,” I replied. So she texted him and a few minutes later, we met at the wall. I took Emanuel’s response to the question through the steel fencing, and his photo as well.

The stores we walked by on the way to the wall were shuttered. Several blocks of business had closed when the flow of Mexican tourists into the United States was shut off. One of the only stores still open was a shoe shop owned by Paul. He shared a story too.

We weren’t at the plaza for long. We made a small collection of images, but the responses were thoughtful. Powerful. See for yourself.


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