From Texas Public Radio:
In Pharr, Texas, where part of the border wall is being constructed, Robert Lopez stands next to a truck that has been converted into a hearse.
The truck is decorated with flowers, and there’s a sign on top of the truck that reads “Cancel the Wall.” On the other side of the sign, it says “3,000 RGV Dead,” referring to the number of people in the region who have died from COVID-19.
“We’re outside a bollard staging area, which bollards are the materials that build up the border walls,” said Lopez, who is with the Texas Civil Rights Project. “The City of Pharr signed a resolution back in 2017 against the wall, and yet here we are standing where they have permitted a site that contains thousands of bollards.”
Lopez is getting ready to remove a coffin from the back of the truck, but there isn’t a body inside.
“We’re going to put that resolution in the coffin, drive it in a funeral procession over to the Jackson Ranch Cemetery and chapel, and then we’re going to take it and drop it off at city hall,” Lopez said.
President Trump has promised that more than 400 miles of border wall will be completed by the end of year, and there are several wall projects that are at different phases in the Rio Grande Valley.
Anti-wall activists gathered in Pharr and held a mock funeral procession on Sunday to protest wall construction in a region where the virus has had deep impacts.
Dozens of people joined Lopez in a procession and started to walk back to their cars, which were decorated with a black bow.
The cars are lined up one after another, ready to begin the funeral procession. Their next stop was the Jackson Ranch Church and Cemetery where parts of the wall have gone up nearby within the last month.
Sylvia Ramirez and other family members have descendants buried there.
“The border wall construction continues at full speed by the government, both on the east side and the west side of this section of property that encompasses the two cemeteries and the church,” Ramirez said. “We have a TRO in place, a temporary restraining order, until October 13, and thereafter we don’t know what kind of protections we’ll have.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has previously said in a statement to TPR that they have “developed measures to ensure that the current plan for new border wall system in this location does not impact the Eli Jackson Cemetery or the Jackson Ranch Church and Cemetery.”