As increasing global economic disparities, violence, and climate change provoke a rising tide of forced migration, many countries and local communities are responding by building walls—literal and metaphorical—between citizens and newcomers. Up Against the Wall: Re-imagining the U.S.-Mexico Border examines the temptation to construct such walls through a penetrating analysis of the U.S. wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as investigating the walling out of Mexicans in local communities. Calling into question the building of a wall against a friendly neighboring nation, Up Against the Wall offers an analysis of the differences between borders and boundaries. This analysis opens the way to envisioning alternatives to the stark and policed divisions that are imposed by walls of all kinds. Tracing the consequences of imperialism and colonization as citizens grapple with new migrant neighbors, the book paints compelling examples from key locales affected by the wall—Nogales, Arizona vs. Nogales, Sonora; Tijuana/San Diego; and the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. An extended case study of Santa Barbara describes the creation of an internal colony in the aftermath of the U.S. conquest of Mexican land, a history that is relevant to many U.S. cities and towns.
Ranging from human rights issues in the wake of massive global migration to the role of national restorative shame in the United States for the treatment of Mexicans since 1848, the authors delve into the broad repercussions of the unjust and often tragic consequences of excluding others through walled structures along with the withholding of citizenship and full societal inclusion. Through the lens of a detailed examination of forced migration from Mexico to the United States, this transdisciplinary text, drawing on philosophy, psychology, and political theory, opens up multiple insights into how nations and communities can coexist with more justice and more compassion.