Calif. profs' 'Teetertotter Wall' at US Border could be illegal, immigration expert says

A pair of California professors have built fluorescent pink seesaws across the U.S.-Mexico border as a symbolic way to protest President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.

University of California, Berkeley architecture professor Ronald Rael and San Jose State University interior design professor Virginia San Fratello joined forces to bring to life the initiative, which was initially designed in 2009, according to The Hill.  The University of California Press described the move as a ”unifying act.”

Both Rael and San Fratello received their masters in architecture at Columbia University.  On Monday, Rael posted photos and videos of the project on Instagram depicting people using the playground toys. 

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“The wall became a literal fulcrum for U.S. — Mexico relations and children and adults were connected in meaningful ways on both sides with the recognition that the actions that take place on one side have a direct consequence on the other side,” Rael wrote in the caption of the post.

“I think the bottom line is that friendship and comity is a good thing, but the professors appear to be making a political statement that makes light of a serious situation,” Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, told Campus Reform. “The border wall is an unfortunate reality but its existence saves lives, that is, stops national security threats, cartel-assisted human and drug smuggling, and people from making the dangerous trek northward to the U.S.”

Campus Reform could not independently verify whether Rael and San Fratello violated any laws when the seesaws were physically set up at the border. An immigration legal expert told Campus Reform on background that if they were placed on government property, and the professors were not granted the necessary permits, then the act could have been illegal.

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Just recently in Trump v. Sierra Club, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in a 5-4 decision to allow Trump to use $2.5 billion in defense funds to build the wall. The border crisis has been a controversial topic since Trump’s election, ever since he proposed to build a wall across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Rael and San Fratello have been outspoken about this possibility and the seesaws were part of a broader initiative, compiled in Rael’s book called “Borderwall as Architecture,” to protest Trump’s vision of a large border wall along the southern border.

“’Borderwall as Architecture’ is an artistic and intellectual hand grenade of a book,” describes the book’s website. “It is both a protest against the wall and a projection about its future…the book takes readers on a journey along a wall that cuts through a ‘third nation’ — the Divided States of America.”

Campus Reform reached out to Rael and San Fratello for comment regarding their architectural project, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ethanycai