Carlos Torres, an architect in the northern Mexican city of
Tijuana, has lived in a house in the shadow of the U.S. border
for three decades, and the fence that U.S. President Donald
Trump has vowed to expand begins at the end of his garden.
Yet far from seeing the metal wall as an eyesore, he chose to
make it a central piece of the design aesthetic of his lavish
home, which he has named "The First House in Northwest Mexico."
A specially erected viewpoint provides a panoramic vista into
the United States, while his garden is littered with border
paraphernalia, such as a signpost indicating the start of U.S.
Although Torres has embraced his little section of wall, he
doubted the larger fence that Trump envisages will work.
"Walls won't halt immigration," he said from his viewing
balcony, which also looks out onto the Pacific Ocean. Trump, he
said, "doesn't know what he's talking about. Here at this fence,
people keep crossing every week."
The wall also dominates Pedro and Carmen Hernandez's garden, but
unlike Torres, they don't have the means to turn it into a
design feature. Instead, they use the corrugated metal that
looms over their modest home to hang their clothes to dry.
"Sometimes, we've had people in our gardens who are trying to
cross over," Carmen said. "This area has been dangerous for
years. We've had murders and kidnappings. But one learns to live
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A few kilometers east of Torres' mansion, Guatemalan chef Joaquin
set up a much simpler home in the branches of a tree, just meters
from the border.
Deported from the United States a few years ago and with little
money to spend, Joaquin - who did not want his last name used so he
would not be identified - hoisted a scruffy mattress into the heart
of the tree and spends his nights staring up through the leaves into
the heavens. During the day, he often spots dozens of migrants
trying to sneak into the United States.
"I've tried to cross so many times that the (U.S.) border guards
even got to know me, but I never made it back," said Joaquin, who
makes a living by collecting trash in Tijuana that he tries to sell
to a local recycling plant.
Click http://reut.rs/2n18HKE to see a related photo essay
(Writing by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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