In the latest episode of CNN‘s Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, the late Bourdain gives a critical take on the U.S.-Mexico border wall debate while speaking posthumously on how the building of such a massive structure would impact the millions of people who have long benefited from living within proximity of the crossing point.
As has regularly been the case through 12 seasons of the popular food and travel show, Bourdain takes viewers through the wondrous landscape of the target region as he samples the traditional cuisine of the people who comprise its local population. Episode 5 saw Bourdain make his rounds through West Texas, where he mixed with cowboys, ranchers, chefs, a historian, adobe construction workers, a couple of law enforcement officials, citizens, and a politician. All the while, the celebrated host found himself partaking in a culture that is distinctly woven by influences from both sides of the border and hearing from folks who aren’t as inviting of a cold, hard, wall cutting through the land as some might imagine.
One such critic of the costly proposal is mayor of the city of Presidio, John Ferguson, who got a chance to sit with Bourdain for the airing of the production. Mayor Ferguson was actually one of the earliest among his lawmaker peers to denounce plans for the wall’s construction. He took aim at President Trump over the controversy in a statement that he issued to the public through CBS back in January of 2017. Regardless of its height, a wall would amount to “a short-sighted political move that will not stop illegal immigration,” he said at the time.
Bourdain would hear about the consequences that everything from NAFTA legislation to gentrification has spelled out — from the mix of people he spoke with. One local underscored the fact that in terms of border trade, Texans have enjoyed a relationship with merchants on the other side for three centuries. Mayor Ferguson projected that at least 60 cities could suffer if the government so impeded on the fluidity that an open border provides on the ground.
Bourdain held back from saying his piece on the highly charged issue, until the show’s final moments. While politicking on immigration during a meal set up between the two cliffs of Santa Elena Canyon, he shared the thought that came to mind when considering his travels to other places around the world that have been divided by walls.
“You know, I’ve been to a few places where they do have a wall. Few things are uglier in the entire world, said Bourdain. “Of all of the places I’ve seen – few things have been an indication of the utter failure of otherwise smart people to figure s*** out.”