El Paso Before 1917
Before 1917, the nearly 2,000 mile stretch of U.S.-Mexico border was predominately non-restrictive, when it came to migrants and immigrants crossing the territorial boundary. Americans and Mexican nationals could freely cross from one country to the other without the need of personal identification. In a 1973 interview with Elizabeth Kelly, daughter of previous El Paso mayor Charles Kelly, she spoke on the subject of legal border crossings before 1917, “Everybody just went back and forth. All of us together built El Paso and Juárez” (as cited in Romo, 2005, p.228).