Page last updated at 00:40 GMT, Monday, 2 March 2009

In pictures: Meeting at the fence

Couple embrace through the fence

An exhibition by Mexican photographer Maria Teresa Fernandez documents life and death at the very western edge of the border fence between Mexico and the US.

Sharing across the fence

Cerca de la Cerca: Near the Border Fence is at the University of Southern California's Annenberg Gallery until May. It features some 80 pictures taken since 2001.

Immigrants hands reach through the fence

The exhibition shows how the fence has changed over time and how people's lives have changed because of it.

Couple kiss

It also tells the stories of families temporarily reunited at Friendship Park on the Tijuana-San Diego border, the only place along the fence where people could touch loved ones on the other side.

Families talk through fence

Families gathered at the park at weekends - until it was closed. Groups are now fighting to stop a metal wall being finished that will divide people completely.

Fence stretches along border

The US and Mexico share a 3,000km (1,800 mile) border, of which about a third is separated by by fencing. In some areas two barriers stretch side-by-side, following the topography and dividing the land.

Crosses along the fence

The fence has been the witness and the cause of many deaths of people filled with ambitions, says Ms Fernandez. Activists have nailed crosses with the names of those who died trying to reach the US.

People climb fence dividing US and Mexico

But even broad daylight, CCTV cameras, the crosses and graffiti warnings are not enough to deter those desperate to start a new life in the US.

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