Local musicians join forces to protest Trump's border wall
Amidst the ongoing immigration debate in the United States, a group of local artists has banded together to express how they feel about President Trump's proposed Border Wall.
“We got together a few times and wrote a song on a guitar and that’s how it started, basically,” said Rodriguez.
In a recent conversation with Rodriguez, he talked about how this protest song got its start.
“This was Jim Ward’s idea, actually," said Rodriguez. "He approached me last year and was feeling very frustrated just like many of us in El Paso. The first plans and announcements were coming out about the wall and he just felt like, I mean, we both did, like a lot of us did, that people from other cities were judging El Paso and Juarez.”
In the song, Rodriguez's lyrics points to the past, to failed attempts at building contraptions that keep people apart.
“I took a historical kind of view on walls that have existed throughout time in the world and how they don’t work," Rodriguez said.
President Trump says a wall would prevent illegal immigration, drug trafficking and acts of terrorism.
“We need a wall," Trump said in April. "Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, we need a wall.”
Congress has yet to approve the funding to the president's vision for a $25-billion wall along the southern border. But in April, the Border Patrol announced that the wall was already under construction in Santa Teresa, New Mexico.
“This project is underway," El Paso Border Patrol Sector Chief Aaron Hull said in April. "This is the beginning, in this sector, of the president’s border wall.”
Rodriguez says he's fully aware that a protest song won't solve America's immigration woes. But he says, as artists who exist along a porous border, it's their job to convey their reality where unity wins out over division.
“I’m not trying to preach," Rodriguez said. "I’m just expressing the way I feel and people feel like that’s political because I feel that somebody has the right to a lawyer or somebody has a right to drink water or people have the right to respect their neighbors. To me, this is humanity that we’re talking about.”
"If You Build It We Will Break It" will appear on The Chamanas' upcoming album NEA, which is scheduled to be released on July 20.