Here’s Your Sign
Caltrans posted several of these signs along San Diego freeways beginning in 1990, when the city was a funnel for undocumented immigrants headed north. The signs were intended to warn drivers they might encounter people frantically darting across lanes of traffic as they tried to evade border security.
Dozens of immigrants were struck and killed from the mid-1980s to early 1990s, some in front of horrified family members, as stunned drivers failed to stop in time.
Now I understand the desire to make sure that there are not traffic deaths, but I find these signs a bit unnerving. Wouldn’t it be better if we made sure that these people were not crossing our borders (not to mention our highways) in the first place? Or are my priorities out of whack?
Apparently someone agrees with me – the signs are slowly coming down via attrition. But in the meantime, the image has become an iconic symbol in California’s pop culture and tourist trade. Its multiple uses (and abuses) show a wonderful creativity on the part of artists and entrepreneurs.