A Facebook and Twitter meme in circulation these days holds that the only thing any American need know about Muslims can be summed up in the 9/11 attacks on our nation. Another asks why, if Islam is a religion of peace, Muslim scholars and clerics don’t loudly condemn extremists who misrepresent it so. Of course, this latter question also begs why more Christians don’t condemn Christian leaders embracing policies and candidates who so obviously subvert Christian principles and make a mockery of Jesus Christ’s teachings.

In a field just three blocks from tourist mecca Magnolia Market at the Silos lay a homeless man fast asleep in the middle of the day. He was covered with blisters from the sun, with stickers and grass embedded in his matted hair. He smelled of both alcohol and human excrement. He had no sleeping bag, no bottle of water and no protection from the 103-degree temperature. As he awakened to the touch of a person trying to help, his words made no sense. “There are demons all over me,” he said in confusion. Then he cried out loud with tears running down his face.

If you’re looking for a way forward on border issues, international trade, immigration flows and even cultural identity, you may want to start with El Paso del Norte. This community of 2.3 million people includes the nearly 700,000 residents of El Paso, Texas, the 1.5 million residents of Ciudad Juarez across the Rio Grande in Chihuahua, Mexico, and more than 100,000 residents of Las Cruces, New Mexico. The region, one of the world’s largest binational metropolitan areas, points to the challenges and potential benefits of the two nations’ close relationship.