The immigration monument at the port of entry is getting a facelift after 20 years of service. Last Saturday a group of volunteers led by Adrianna Zizumbo began restoration on the monument originally constructed by her uncle Jack Long, Tony Guerra, Estella Guerra and a group of dedicated local volunteers.
“My uncle was happy to hear we went through with it,” said Zizumbo about the refresh. “He thought no one was going to care anymore and I said ‘I care! And I know more people that care as well’.” The underlying adobe blocks were reinforced with concrete in anticipation of a fresh coat of stucco next week.
20 years ago, the heavy wooden cross mounted atop the monument was carried 3 miles from the center of Columbus to the border as a pilgrimage. The plain cross is getting a new look, as acclaimed Las Cruces artist, Bobby Alvarez, has designed a vibrant floral decoration that he will paint directly on the cross.
The current monument plaque acknowledges the lost lives of those crossing the desert. The new plaque, under creation by Terrazas Funeral home in Deming, will say “In loving memory of the immigrants that died in the desert in search of a better dream. And to all Law Enforcement and Border Patrol who died protecting our border.”
“I know some people weren’t too happy about us just dedicating it to (immigrants) and I’m like, you know what? They have a point—border patrol have also lost their lives. I want to include them. So it’s gonna be something for both.”
A ceremonial unveiling of the newly refurbished monument will take place upon completion of the project. Notices will be posted at Borderland Café, through social media and word of mouth.