Border wall mural tells stories of deported

The Associated Press

Volunteers help install a new mural on the Mexican side of a border wall in Tijuana, Mexico, on Friday.

The Associated Press TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana returned Friday to the Mexican beach where her father entered the United States illegally before she was born, this time to put final touches on a mural of adults who came to the United States illegally as young children and were deported. Visitors who hold up their phones to the painted faces are taken to a website that voices first-person narratives.

There is a deported U.S. veteran. There are two deported mothers with children who were born in the United States. There is a man who would have been eligible for an Obama-era program to shield people who came to the United States when they were very young from deportation, but was deported less than a year before the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, took effect in 2012.

The project blends Mexico’s rich history of muralists with what can loosely be called interactive or performance art on the 3,126-kilometer U.S.-Mexico border. At the same Tijuana beach during an art festival in 2005, David Smith Jr., known as “The Human Cannonball,” flashed his passport, lowered himself into a barrel and was shot over the wall, landing on a net with U.S. Border Patrol agents nearby. In 2017, professional swimmers crossed the border from the United States in the Pacific Ocean and landed on the same beach, where a Mexican official greeted them with stamped passports and schoolchildren cheered.

Last month, an artist installed three pink seesaws though a border wall that separates El Paso, Texas, from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

De La Cruz Santana, 28, conceived the interactive mural as part of a doctoral dissertation at University of California, Davis, in Spanish with a focus on literature and immigrant experiences. The faces are affixed with barcodes that link to audio on the project website.

Her dissertation will include written arguments for DACA-style benefits to anyone who comes to the United States as a young child, without any of the disqualifiers like criminal history that former President Barack Obama included.

“Technology is one of the best ways and venues for people to tell their stories,” said De La Cruz, whose parents obtained legal status through former President Ronald Reagan’s amnesty law.Speech

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