3/29/2016 The Guardian
There are 1,954 miles of border separating the US and Mexico but only one tiny stretch, measuring no more than 15 meters wide, where families are sanctioned to touch fingertips through a steel-mesh fence.
This spot, where the Pacific ocean joins the sandy shoreline, and where San Diego becomes Tijuana, is where US Customs and Border Protection allows families torn apart by an unforgiving immigration system their own, fleeting connection.
It is a wafer-thin and slowly shrinking no man’s land, where border agents will look the other way as Mexican-American families with mixed legal status convene in the baking sun.
In an election year which has been dominated by hardline anti-immigration and anti-Mexican rhetoric, the encounters along this tiny segment of border have been given a new sense of urgency.
The Republican frontrunner Donald Trump and his main challenger Ted Cruz are both campaigning on the promise of turning the reinforced fence that separates the US from Mexico into a wall.
Any such move would have very practical repercussions for people like Jonathan Magdaleno, a 25-year-old who was on the US side of the fence one recent Saturday, his palms against the warm metal grill.