With all of the debate (or rather political grandstanding) that has been happening about whether or not to build a wall on our southern border, I wondered what it was already like for an American citizen to leave the United States and travel to Mexico and then return the United States. I wanted to know what kind of walls or barriers one must pass through in order to legally cross the border, both by airplane and crossing the southern border.
So the week before last, I traveled to Mexico City from my hometown of Atlanta, GA by airplane. In the international terminal in Atlanta, I was required to show my passport and my boarding pass prior to going through a TSA security checkpoint where I was required to remove my shoes, my belt, my jacket, remove all of the electronics in my bag that were bigger than a cell phone, and any toiletries like shampoo or liquid soap. I also had to have my entire body scanned and ultimately they had to pat down my ankle because the body scanner indicated there could be an issue.
What’s interesting (and not surprising at all – can you hear my sarcasm?) is that the TSA security checkpoint is a point of entry to get past a wall that prevents unauthorized persons from entering the secure area of airports.
When I arrived in Mexico City, I was required to go through Mexico’s equivalent of US Customs. There was a kiosk where I had to scan my passport, scan all 10 finger prints, take my picture, and answer questions about the purpose of my visit to Mexico. Then I had to speak with an agent and answer more questions about my visit. Then I was allowed to exit the secure area – through another WALL.
The point is, even for American citizens entering and leaving the country, there are walls or barriers, there are checkpoints, and there are lines that you must stand in before you can enter or leave the country. If this is required for commercial travel, doesn’t it make sense to build a wall along the border to help funnel people to ports of entry so that they too must go through the same process as everyone else?
Watch the first of our videos from this border trip.
Be sure to check back later in the week for the second video where I’ll show more about what it’s like to cross the border by foot or by car.
Jenny Beth Martin