Mexicans And Americans Used To Do Something Very Unusual On The Border

You don't see this on TV.

From Donald Trump to Barack Obama, you've probably heard a lot about immigration on the Mexico-United States border recently.

But as it turns out, there are some "border stories" that get far less attention than they should. Take, for example, the following picture from 2007, which re-surfaced this week on Imgur and shows Mexican and Americans playing a game of volleyball on the border fence that divides the two countries. 

Americans and Mexicans playing volleyball over the border in Arizona

Border policies jumped back into the forefront of Americans' minds recently, perhaps most notably when Presidential candidate Donald Trump insinuated that many Mexicans crossing the border were rapists or drug dealers

While his comments were received as racist and ignorant, Trump is correct that immigration policies need reform and serious thought. During the border crisis of 2014, 67,339 unaccompanied minors were apprehended trying to cross the border. That number has since receded, but is a good indication of how violence and turmoil to the south can drive up migration into the United States. 

From the outside, it may seem like tension on the border is hurting relationships between your everyday Mexicans or Americans, but this one picture and past coverage of the "Wallyball" games should be a reminder that we are more united than people think. 


In fact, we have a lot of data about how Americans feel towards immigrants.

Several Pew research studies have confirmed that most Americans (72 percent) don't want to spend the time or resources on deporting the 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants currently living in America. In President Obama's term, deportations have been on the rise, which has consequently divided the country on whether that increase is good or bad. 45 percent of Americans called it a good thing while an equal amount opposed, and the rest were left undecided.

Even the fence like the ones those volleyball games were played around is the topic of some debate: In October, 2011, 46 percent of Americans "favored" building a fence along the border.  

That border, which has been home to many migrant deaths and much controversy, could desperately use some more unity like the togetherness that comes from the border games.

"For us, it represents the celebration of the union of two countries," Jose Lorenzo Villegas, the mayor of Naco in Mexico, told Reuters in 2007.

Since 1979, the game has existed on the border of Naco, Arizona on the U.S. side and Naco, Sonora on the Mexican side. For those who spend time watching the news or listening to politicians, it may come as a surprise that the border is not a completely dangerous and tense place. 

To see more, check out the short film made by Brent Hoff in 2011: