The Tornillo-Guadalupe Port of Entry was the site of one of the most massive incarceration of children in American history. As politicians created an atmosphere of fear, thousands of Central American families became pawns in one of the US government ’s most disgraceful displays of inhumanity. From June 2018 to January 2019, more than 6000 children between the ages of 12-17 were placed in tents in the Texas desert, surrounded by barbed wire. As the American president Twittered about rapists, thieves and murderers entering the country, thousands of children were separated from their parents, creating a reality many had not seen on US soil since the Japanese internment camps. In October 2018, protesters began a three-month residency at the entrance to the Port of Entry, lining the gates with paper flowers sent from all over the country. These flowers became a symbol of hope and love, letting the children know they were not alone.
At Expo Chicago 2019, CASE presented the first exhibit of Borderlines, a long-term project about children’s human rights. The public was invited to take down a 6’ high wall made of paper flowers by making a $10.00 donation to remove a flower (which they kept) from the display, actively taking down the wall. As the wall was removed, viewers entered the booth which was solely lit by a video of a young family quietly walking in the desert towards border patrol. Numerous flashlights hung from the ceiling, which viewers used to see photographs from the Tornillo detention camp. Donations received from the viewers actions went to El Paso Matters, a digital news source that focuses on in-depth and investigative reporting about the El Paso Borderplex region, founded by journalist Bob Moore, whose insights and friendship has been invaluable to CASE.
Borderlines strives to raise awareness about children’s human rights and asked all Expo Chicago attendees to tear down the wall.