Virgin Mary a sign of welcome on the US Mexico border

us - mexico border

Two parallel fences line either side of the Tijuana river.

The southernmost barrier roughly marks the international boundary between the United States and Mexico, between San Diego, Calif., and Tijuana, Baja California.

The area is patrolled 24/7 by US Border Patrol agents in SUV’s and helicopters.

Cameras monitor the area to spot anyone who might try to cross the border illegally.

But it was not always this way, according to Deacon José Luis Medina, the administrator of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in San Ysidro, a San Diego neighborhood just north of the border.

Deacon Medina was born in Tijuana.

“We have a good relationship between Mexico and San Diego,” Deacon Medina told America.

“A lot of people come from Tijuana to go shopping here. We’re not very happy with the wall.”

Our Lady of Mount Carmel will be the site of a 40-foot “Welcome the Stranger” sculpture.

The monument to the Virgin Mary, which will be surrounded by a meditation garden, was inspired by the Statue of Liberty and commissioned by the San Diego Organizing Project.

Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego supports the project.

“The president wants to build the wall, and we want to build a bridge,” Deacon Medina said.

“We are Christians. Our faith tells us that everyone is a human being.”

The sculpture will stand in stark relief to the increasingly militarized border.

During his presidential campaign, Mr. Trump vowed to build a “great border wall.”

Earlier this year, thepresident visited San Diego to see eight border wall prototypes, but community members say the “Welcome the Stranger” statue is not meant as a political statement.

“This has nothing to do with politics,” said David Gonzalez, who has been a parishioner at Our Lady of Mount Carmel for 20 years.

“This is who we are and what we believe in. We welcome people.”

It is personal for Mr. Gonzalez, whose mother was born in Mexico. He also has undocumented friends in the community who “are doing very well, helping the economy and everything,” he said. Continue reading

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