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Only Here Podcast: Border Church Helps Protect A Place Where People Separated By Immigration Status Can Meet

In this photo taken May 5, 2019, Border Church is underway, and people in Tij...

Photo by Alan Lilienthal

Above: In this photo taken May 5, 2019, Border Church is underway, and people in Tijuana use this spot at the border wall to meet family and friends separated by immigration status on the U.S. side.

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The Border Church, or La Iglesia Fronteriza, is not a brick-and-mortar church. In fact, the only wall here at this weekly outdoor service is the one separating the United States from Mexico. Border Church is an outdoor church that meets every Sunday on both sides of the international border fence between San Diego and Tijuana. The weekly church service is ... Read more →

Aired: September 4, 2019 | Transcript

The Border Church, or La Iglesia Fronteriza, is not a brick-and-mortar church. In fact, the only wall here at this weekly outdoor service is the one separating the United States and Mexico.

Church services are held every Sunday on both sides of the international border fence between San Diego and Tijuana. It is a religious celebration, but it also helps ensure that the U.S. Border Patrol will continue to allow people to use this place as a meeting point. Every Sunday Border Church founder John Fanestil said he asks the agent on duty to open the fence.

This spot, where the border wall runs into the Pacific Ocean, is where families whose immigration status doesn’t allow them to travel between the two countries can spend time with each other through the fence. It's the only place along the Southern California border where people can legally walk right up to the fence and touch people on the other side — just barely by poking their fingers through holes in a steel mesh barrier, but still, it’s a touch.

Photo by Alan Lilienthal

In this photo taken Sunday, May 5, 2019, a person in Tijuana reaches through the border wall to "pinkie kiss" his family member on the U.S. side.

In a new episode of "Only Here," KPBS' podcast about life at the Western Hemisphere's busiest border crossing, a story about The Border Church and the people who power it.

Photo by Kinsee Morlan

In this photo taken Sunday, May 5, 2019, pastor and Border Church founder John Fanestil prepares to hike out to the border fence.

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