The Texas-Mexico border spans more than one thousand miles, with El Paso and Brownsville tying up the loose ends. But in the small town of Presidio, there is a border relationship like no other.
“For a wall to be built here, it would basically be splitting families in half,” says Mayor John Ferguson of Presidio.
Talks of a border wall are at the forefront of American politics. The topic even shutting the government down for its longest time in history. It’s effects hitting the entire country.
Just this week President Trump spoke to a crowd of thousands in El Paso on the issue. However, border relations between major cities are vastly different from smaller ones like Presidio and Ojinaga,
“Basically these two cities were one community, before the border separated the two using the Rio Grande,” says Ferguson.
Ferguson says the relationship between the Mexican city of Ojinaga and Presidio is something that cannot coexist with a border wall.
“It’s just a big community here, so most of us are not really interested in seeing a wall,” says Ferguson.
Across town many of those who grew up in Presidio have the same mindset.
“Mexico, Ojinaga it’s just part of our life. We go there for shopping, eating,” says Ramon Carrasco, a Presidio native.
“We go consume things over there. And they come here so we need to work as partners,” says Karmina Proano, another Presidio resident.
For Proano, the relationship with Ojinaga has business ties. Working at her families’ furniture store in Presidio, shes says a large portion of her customers are from right across the river.
“We have a lot of customers from Ojinaga and further in Chihuahua and further out. You know they need us too,” she says.
Brad Newton of the Presidio Development District says there is a lot of misconceptions about immigration near Presidio and Ojinaga.
“I’ve been here for 10 years, and I’ve never seen someone come across the river illegally,” says Newton. “Not to say that they don’t. But it is a rare occurrence and the regular folks here don’t really see it happening.”
But along the river isn’t just two banks. Besides the ports of entry, locals believe there is a bright future. This includes two international bridges in the works, with both the Mexican and American sides working on them.
While there may be unity in these towns, many believe border relations still need work. In Terrell County border patrol is seeing more immigrants than years past. And the tent cities in Tornillo caused national outrage.
But for these towns along the river, they believe everyone can look at their relationship as a template of what international relationships could be.
“There has to be work from both sides. Other wise it is not going to work. So Mexico has some stuff to do and the US and well,” says Carrasco.