by Astrid Martinez
For five long and educational months a couple from New York and Minnesota have been on a quest to learn about border realities.
They aren’t doing all of this by just watching TV or reading a book.
They’re biking and blogging every minute of their exploration
“Each part of the border has it’s distinct reality,” said Eric Wright.
“We knew that and we were interested in what was going on in each part of the border.”
“And we felt an obligation to teach as we go,” said Katy Brandes.
After spending significant time working as volunteers at a shelter for migrants in El Paso, Katy and Eric decided to explore the border.
In September, they got on their bikes and started pedaling a little north of San Diego, California, final destination Boca Chica, Texas.
Their trip has taken them all along the US-Mexico border hoping to get a glimpse of a migrants life.
“I think people in the north don’t really understand what’s going on in the southern borders,” said Katy. “Hearing politicians talk about a wall might sound feasible to people.”
“But when you come down and you witness it, it seems kind of crazy the division between cities and the fact that it’s 2000 miles long.”
During their travels, Katy and Eric have visited social justice organizations and border groups.
They’ve talked to day laborers and have stayed at various shelters for immigrants on both sides of the border.
But what Katy and Eric consider a priority of their more than 2000 mile journey, is to hopefully one day change America’s immigration policies.
“I mean we would really go radical and want open borders,” said Katy. “But we know that it has to be done step by step.”
“So we can just hope that the Dream Act will happen and maybe and amnesty will happen and maybe more Mexican asylum cases will be looked at seriously as people flee the violence.”
The couple says our country was built on immigrants and people shouldn’t fear them.
“The craziest thing about how our immigration system works or rather doesn’t work is that it’s separating thousands of families,” says Eric.
“Thousands of children are being left without their parents. Spouses being separated.”
Kids who’ve spent their entire lives living in the United States who were brought over when they were toddlers are being deported.”
“There’s a lot of inconsistency and a lot of things being done by our immigration system that leaves a lot of heartache behind.”
As they pedal and take their two fully loaded bikes for the longest spin of their lives, they’re looking even further down the road at how this trip could impact others.
You can learn more about Katy and Eric’s travels at http://borderbybicycle.blogspot.com/