graphic arts immigration pop culture tijuana

Border Crossing Foursquare Badge

Foursquare Badge: Border Crossing - You evaded the border patrol twice in one week!

As someone who crosses the border between San Diego and Tijuana regularly, it’s a geeky delight to win back the mayorship of the U.S.-Mexico Border Crossing at San Ysidro Port of Entry on Foursquare. Of course, there will be no discounts or special rewards offered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. But it’s still useful to share with friends, and if anything, it’s a fun novelty. (Update: A day after posting this, @dr_chuy regained the mayorship.)

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Documenting a Deported Teen in Tijuana

This summer, I met a 17-year-old boy named Jay at a DIF shelter in Tijuana. He had spent 15 of his 17 years in the U.S., brought from Mexico at age 2. Working alongside KPBS reporter Amy Isackson, we recorded his story and photographed him (all except his face because the shelter administrators wouldn’t allow it).

View photos from the Tijuana youth shelter on Flickr »

Jay's PerchIn the CourtyardAmy Interviews JayMusicPersonal BelongingsJay's DrawingWatching TVPassing the TimeIn LimboFootball ScarScarThinking of Home

Off Mic screenshot

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Minutemen Videos: Vandalism, Harrassment, Pepper Spray


In Videos, Minutemen Shown Damaging Migrant Camp: “San Diego Minutemen can be seen pulling down migrant workers’ huts and rummaging through migrants’ possessions in a collection of video clips shot by a former member of the group.”


Minutemen Unvarnished: “The Minutemen and related groups are targeting day labor sites–and the laborers themselves–around the country in what they claim is a campaign to secure our borders.”
Minutemen Unvarnished

Pepper Spray

Clandestined Insurgent Rebel Clown Army: “We are clowns because what else can one be in such a stupid world. Because inside everyone is a lawless clown trying to escape. Because nothing undermines authority like holding it up to ridicule. Because since the beginning of time tricksters have embraced life’s contradictions, creating coherence through confusion. Because fools are both fearsome and innocent, wise and stupid, entertainers and dissenters, healers and laughing stocks, scapegoats and subversives. Because buffoons always succeed in failing, always say yes, always hope and always feel things deeply. Because a clown can survive everything and get away with anything.”

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GreenCard Energy Drink

From Convenience Store News:

GreenCard Energy Drink, made by Z CORP, markets its energy beverage to illegal immigrants on their way to the U.S. It claims that it will give energy to those looking to cross the border and potentially outrun U.S. Border Patrol.

“It’s a fact,” that people illegally cross the border, president and CEO of Z CORP, Jeff Weiss, told CSNews Online. “If they are going to come to the U.S., I don’t want them dying in the desert, I’d rather have them hydrated.”

GreenCard Energy Drink

This would have been a perfect art project. Unfortunately, they beat me to it, and it’s real to boot (as far as I can tell). It is a pretty amazing commentary on the industry’s lack of social consciousness. It also has the “help them cross” irony like Judi Werthein’s Brinco shoes. I’m still sort of in awe that they actually think this is a reasonable idea…

[ via cindylu ]

citizenship culture crit immigration war

The Morality of Citizenship

Perhaps I’ve been reading too many blogs by minutemen-types who say the U.S. is being invaded by immigrants. But in reading the rhetoric, I think I’m getting closer to understanding their motivation. Their conviction is based on national sovereignty and the rights of citizenship. But it’s more than just pride. It’s a moral belief in U.S. citizenship.

When it comes to a citizen’s social responsibility, the morality stretches to hypocritical extremes. Citizens don’t feel morally responsible for civilian deaths when their tax money blows up innocent women and children in a foreign country. But if their tax money goes to helping women and children get medical attention or an education in their own country, that is completely unacceptable.

Let’s take a closer look at the non-U.S. citizen civilian casualty issue. If the military finds a suspected terrorist is living in an apartment building in a foreign country, they’ll do some calculations to estimate collateral damage is within reasonable limits (I heard an interview with a military strategist who said the usual limit around 30 civilian deaths), and then they blow up the building. Now, if that same terrorist was in an apartment building in New York, there is no way they would blow up the building with 30 U.S. citizens in there. The country would go into a panic over the U.S. casualties, but doesn’t blink twice over foreign casualties. It’s based on this belief that foreign citizens don’t have the same human value as U.S. citizens.

The United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 to declare fundamental human rights. The United States was among the 48 countries that unanimously voted in favor of universal human rights. Included in the 30 articles, the UDHR says every person has the right to an education and medical care, among other things.

And sadly, U.S. nativists continue to rationalize creating new laws to deny these fundamental rights to non-citizens. They even want to take it one step further, denying citizenship to “anchor babies” born of non-citizen parents.

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Unauthorized Migrants Are Easy Scapegoats

Immigration has always been a contentious issue for U.S. Americans (except, of course, for that initial immigration from Europe. That was a God-given right). Today, foreigners must be worthy of entering the golden gated community. We don’t want just any riffraff joining the club. We need to know where you’re coming from. European? No problem. Hang out and enjoy yourself. If you’re coming from the third-world, get in line. People from third-world countries can’t be trusted to enjoy the same liberties as those from the first world. Particularly the poor ones. They’re more likely to end up in prison, be uninsured, and dumb-down public education.

Why bother writing a post about immigration . . . Debates over immigration policy will never end. There is no real solution. Still, I can’t help thinking most people watch television news coverage – illegals here, illegals there – and it doesn’t sound like sarcasm to them. Besides, sarcasm lets us all take a big look in the mirror, sling a few insults, and laugh about it later.

So let’s look at the “immigration problem.” Too many immigrants fill the schools. Classes are overcrowded. The children who deserve an education get a diluted one because teachers are too busy translating. No, the real issue is a neglected public education system. Too many illegals use the emergency room. They use up all the resources us white-collar citizens deserve. No, the real issue is an underinsured working class.

The immigrants aren’t the real problem here. The underlying social systems are in desperate need of attention and reform. Just imagine what the hundreds of billions of dollars spent taking over Iraq could have done for education and healthcare (wait, stay focused — write the post about war later). Illegals are easy to blame because they don’t really have a voice. Their underclass status keeps them from standing up to defend themselves. People use the education and healthcare cost example to show how illegals are ruining society. But the real root is a society that isn’t taking care of its basic needs. The immigrants represent the straw that’s breaking the camel’s back.

Polls show that a majority of U.S. Americans don’t think it’s reasonable to deport everyone. And if they’re not deported, then reform will likely involve some sort of legalization, temporary worker program, and a healthy chunk of money thrown at sealing off the Mexican border. But, if we’re not deporting all the illegals, how will any reform assume to solve the “problem” with these people being here in the first place? Of course, it doesn’t. None of the proposals include anything about healthcare or education. And that’s exactly the point really. Blame a class of voiceless people for problems you don’t plan on solving.