Crossing the U.S.-Mexico border can be perilous or even tragic. The path to the United States from Mexico goes over a large river or rough, dusty terrain, all of which can be fatal.
- Boy survives after being left for dead with father’s body in Mexico (CNN, 7/11/19): A small group of migrants traveling from Guatemala hired a smuggler to move them from Guatemala to the U.S. through Mexico. However, they were abandoned in Mexico and kidnapped, attacked, and left for dead. One of the young boys was found with his dead father but survived and is receiving medical care.
The U.S.-Mexico border is close to 2,000 miles long and extends across the south of the United States from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. The history of the area didn’t start with European settlement, but it did get more controversial in terms of where the border should lie once people needed to consider boundaries. In 1819, the U.S. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams and Spanish Envoy Lord Don Luis de Onís signed the Adams-Onís Treaty. This treaty established the northern border of the Spanish territory, aligning with the modern-day northern borders of California, Nevada, and Utah, as well as the eastern edge of Texas. It didn’t stay that way for long, however.
Once Mexico declared independence in 1821, concern started to grow about American settlers crossing that border into Texas, which was then a part of Mexico. Eventually, the Republic of Texas was formed as an independent area separate from both the U.S. and Mexico, and a border conflict ensued about its southern border.
The current border was created after the Mexican-American War concluded in 1848. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo established the southern border of Texas, and thus the U.S., as being along the Rio Grande, where it rests today.
This border is not without controversy – which has been on the rise in recent years. The largest source of immigrants in the U.S. hails from Mexico (around 25% of all U.S. immigrants), and those who enter the country illegally remain a concern to many.
Fewer than half of all Mexican immigrants in the U.S. are in the country illegally, but stemming the flow of all illegal immigration has been one of the current administration’s biggest platforms since President Trump took office in 2017. While Mexico is the country of origin for many who enter the country illegally, there have been more apprehensions at the border of non-Mexican people than those from Mexico since 2016.
Current Events Along the U.S. –Mexico Border
This border is the most crossed international boundary anywhere in the world, not only consisting of people seeking to enter the country in search of a new life, but over a billion dollars worth of goods moves between the two nations every day.
Currently, there are several ongoing border issues garnering plenty of news coverage. We’ll be collecting coverage of these current events along the controversial border.
A major point of controversy is detention centers where Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) hold migrants suspected of illegal entry or while their claims for asylum are being processed.
- What firsthand government reports say about the conditions at migrant detention centers (USA Today, 7/17/19): Direct reports of those who toured an all-male detention center in Texas, alongside Vice President Pence, noted a severe stench emanating from 400 men who were housed in hot cages without space for them to all lie down.
- What Is Happening at Migrant Detention Centers? Here’s What to Know (TIME, 7/12/19): Recent reports of unsanitary and unsafe migrant detention centers run by ICE and other federal agencies have prompted the top Democrats to summon the acting commissioner of the CPB and the acting secretary of Homeland Security to testify before the House Oversight Committee.
- US citizen says he lost 26 pounds under ‘inhumane’ conditions at border facility in Texas (USA Today, 7/27/19): A Dallas 18-year-old was arrested by ICE and held in a local center for weeks while he was proclaiming his citizenship. He detailed deplorable conditions such as overcrowding and lack of basic hygiene necessities. He was released after 23 days.
Another point of contention has been the practice of separating children from their parents during detention.
- 3-Year-Old Asked To Pick Parent In Attempted Family Separation, Her Parents Say (NPR, 7/15/19): At a holding facility, an agent asked a 3-year-old girl to choose which parent she wanted to stay with her in the U.S. Ultimately, this family was not separated.
Recent crackdown on immigration, specifically from the southern border of the United States, has also lead to an increase in immigration raids throughout the country.
- Largest US immigration raids in a decade net 680 arrests. (AP, 8/7/19): Around 600 immigration agents raided a group of chicken processing facilities in Morton, Mississippi, resulting in 680 arrests. The apprehended individuals were transported to a military facility for processing, where friends and family members protested.
U.S. – Mexico Tariffs
President Trump has threatened to impart steep tariffs on goods from Mexico if the country doesn’t agree to help curb immigration.
- Trump: U.S., Mexico Reach Deal To Avoid New Tariffs (NPR, 6/7/19): A joint agreement released by State Department officials notes that Mexico will assist the United States in lessening migration across the border by deploying its national guard troops through the country, particularly along the southern border of Mexico.
Illegal Immigration of Central Americans via Mexico
One of the focuses of the deal with Mexico is assistance in reducing the flow of illegal immigration of Central Americans through Mexico.
- Mexico’s new National Guard was created to fight crime, but now it’s in a face-off with migrants (Reuters, 7/7/19): Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador created the National Guard to bring down homicide rates, but now the Guard has been ordered to patrol the border to appease President Trump. The hope is to reduce the amount of Central Americans who are heading toward the U.S., so as not to risk additional tariffs on Mexican goods.
Crossing the Border
Border crossing apprehension is one of the goals of the CBP as they work to reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S.
- US-Mexico border arrests drop from May to June, CBP data shows (CNN, 7/3/19): The CBP reported that apprehensions along the U.S-Mexico border were down in June for the first time since January. That number, though, is still higher than the figure for the same time frame last year.
- Border agents use tear gas to stop nearly 50 undocumented migrants who stormed Rio Grande bridge (Fox News, 7/20/19): A large group of people attempted to cross into the United States in the early morning hours by swarming a bridge. They crashed through temporary barricades and came into contact with Border Patrol agents. Sixteen individuals were apprehended.
An Ongoing Geopolitical Debate
We’ll keep this page up to date as current events continue to evolve. This is a contentious issue that doesn’t have an easy solution and is sure to be an ongoing discussion, particularly as the next presidential election cycle heats up.