JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) — After a young Texan went on a shooting rampage that appeared to target Hispanics at a Walmart in El Paso, killing 22 people, including eight Mexican citizens, there were no protests on the other side of the Rio Grande in neighboring Ciudad Juarez, only a small vigil honoring all the dead.
Community leaders didn’t talk of boycotting El Paso, a city that depends heavily on Mexican shoppers. On the contrary, in the following days Mexicans have packed the international bridges going to jobs, stores and schools like always.
What fear some express about the attack is mixed with a practical concern that somehow the massacre may lead to longer wait times for entering El Paso.
Many pointed out that the attacker was from north Texas, not from the border community, and somehow that made the pain inflicted less personal.
“They see him like an external agent who looked for a place where the deadly effect of his act could have the greatest repercussions,” said Rodolfo Rubio Salas, a professor and researcher at Colegio de Chihuahua.
But even such a horrendous crime will not have a lasting impact on the relationship between the two cities, Rubio said.
A recent survey found that 75% to 80% of Juarez residents have a relative or friend in El Paso they keep in touch with, he said. His own research has identified 15,000 to 20,000 Juarez residents who cross to work in El Paso every day and an additional 15,000 students who go over the border to study.
Some of those who cross to shop and are scared now may stop for a time, Rubio said. “But for those who have to cross every day to work, to study, to visit family, I don’t think it is going to have a long-term impact.”
On Tuesday, wait times for vehicles entering El Paso from Juarez were still around the usual two hours plus. A steady stream of pedestrians flowed across the Paso del Norte bridge in the morning and a similar flow came in the reverse direction in the afternoon.
Graciela Pérez walked across to El Paso early Tuesday morning to shop as she does once a week. She had tried to go Monday, but the line was so long she put her journey off a day.
Pérez said she was at that Walmart two weeks earlier shopping for her kids. She admitted being a little worried crossing Tuesday for the first time since the shooting, but added, “We have to go.”