Standing on the beach at the southern rim of the country, a small group huddled around her, Norma Villegas peered through a set of binoculars. She fixed her gaze on two women, standing side by side. One was gesturing sign language.
“This is Lourdes Ramirez,” Villegas said, translating what she saw through the binoculars. “She likes music.”
A couple of hundred feet away, across two fences and a forbidden zone that now separates the United States from its neighbor, stood Ramirez, on a paved platform atop a raised mound of Mexican earth. She spoke to Carla Izaguirre, whose hands relayed her words for the people on the other side.
In the United States, the message received, Villegas set down her binoculars and raised her hands. Across the border, Izaguirre lowered her eyes onto a tripod-mounted monocular and looked.
Villegas started gesturing, slowly.
She introduced one of the women standing beside her. “This is Nicole Ramos,” Villegas said aloud, translating her hands for the rest of the group. “She likes to eat.”