Local Politics

Border wall debate divides melting pot in north Durham

Posted October 26, 2016

— North Roxboro Street in Durham is a melting pot rimmed with taquerias, an African beauty salon, a Vietnamese restaurant and a Southern-fried restaurant owned by a Korean family.

Up the street from where a mosque sits next door to a Baptist church in the Braggtown community, the music plays at Pascual Car Audio.

Erik Pascual owns the business. He emigrated from Mexico with his family when he was a teen.

"All my kids are here. They are American citizens," Pascual said.

He doesn't like Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, whose defining campaign issue has been walling off the U.S. border with Mexico and deporting the estimated 11 million people in the U.S. illegally.

"He don't like Latino people," Pascual says of Trump, adding that such mass deportations would be impossible.

Main Street, NC Voters sound off along Main Street in NC

"An immigrant is going to find a way to get into the United States. A wall is not the solution," said one of Pascual's employees, Sayuri Molina, who also emigrated from Mexico as a teen.

Gerald and Polli Elliott, who have already voted for Trump, say unchecked illegal immigration threatens the country.

A porous border allows drugs and terrorists in freely, Gerald Elliott said, adding, "There's got to be some way to get a hold of these people and check them out and do background checks and such like that."

He wants the border wall built.

"It may not be a bad idea, especially if somebody else is going to foot the bill," he said, citing Trump's insistence that Mexico will pay for the wall's construction.

"I just don't see how that can be done," Polli Elliott said.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton supports a pathway to citizenship for millions of people in the U.S. illegally.

Molina said she came to the U.S. for the promise the vast melting pot has held for generations. She's now taking online classes with a goal of earning a college degree and hopes that will inspire her 5-year-old son, Stanley.

"If he sees me, that I'm working hard and I'm trying to finish college, he would say, 'Wow, that is my mom, and I would like to be like her,'" she said.


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