Keeping Out the Terrorists

The AP reports:

About 300 Mexican women taking part in a worldwide relay march were stopped by U.S. border officials when they tried to cross to the U.S. side of an international bridge to meet their American counterparts Wednesday.

Participants in the World March of Women were stopped by U.S. border and customs officials at the Lerdo international bridge linking El Paso with Ciudad Juarez.

Some pushing and shoving ensued after the women approached the U.S. side and agents told them they could not cross because the bridge was not designed for foot traffic.

Ciudad Juarez has become notorious in recent years for the unsolved murders of hundreds of women, mostly workers in maquiladoras, so the handoff at this point was designed to be symbolic of world solidarity with the city's women.

Maquiladoras, factories in special tax-free zones making goods mostly for export to the U.S., have proliferated greatly since the adoption of NAFTA in 1994 (the murders began in 1993). According to Mother Jones, "more than 60 percent of maquiladora workers are women and girls, many as young as 13 or 14." (See Lourdes Portillo's critically-acclaimed documentary about the maquiladora murders, Señorita Extraviada.)