The Mexican government placed a piece of the Berlin Wall just a stone’s throw from the U.S.-Mexico border in Tijuana, sending a clear message to border-security advocates in the U.S.
Tijuana Mayor Montserrat Caballero and former Mexican foreign secretary Marcelo Ebrard installed the shard of the Soviet wall during a ceremony last month. A plaque near its base, written by Caballero, reads, “May this be a lesson to build a society that knocks down walls and builds bridges.”
The message-laden move comes as the U.S. continues to expand its barriers across the nearly 2,000 miles of territory dividing the U.S. and Mexico. Unlike the U.S. border, however, the Berlin Wall was originally installed by an occupying power to divide a nation against itself.
“Why in Tijuana? How many families have shed blood, labor and their lives to get past the wall?” Caballero asked. “The social and political conflict is different than the Berlin Wall, but it’s a wall at the end of the day. And a wall is always a sphinx that divides and bloodies nations.”
President Biden’s administration has struggled to stem the flow of migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border throughout his administration. There were hundreds of thousands of migrants illegally entering the U.S. each month earlier this year.
In July, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported 183,503 migrant encounters.
“We remain vigilant and continue to adjust our operational plans to maximize enforcement efforts against those individuals who do not use lawful pathways or processes, knowing that smugglers continue to use disinformation to prey on vulnerable individuals,” acting CBP Commissioner Troy Miller said in a statement last week.
Caballero went on to say that she respects that the U.S. must enforce its own borders, but she said the wall nevertheless represents “violence” and “family separation.”
Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office, ending the construction of new border wall. His administration is, however, moving forward with some projects that had already been contracted out when he took office.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.