How the US outsourced border security to Mexico

How the US outsourced border security to Mexico

Standing at the border between Guatemala
and Mexico. Up there on the bridge, there’s a normal border crossing with
migration; people stamping passports, but you go down these wobbly stairs, you
notice that right under the bridge these guys are trafficking people across the
border, technically illegally. You can’t tell that there’s been an immigration
crackdown here, but there has. And it was the U.S. that paid for it. These guys are doing it under the noses of immigration officials who clearly don’t care that
much. You only start to feel this crackdown when you start moving north,
where you run into a new network of military infrastructure and checkpoints
meant to stop migrants. But this crackdown was never meant to keep
Central Americans out of Mexico, it was meant to keep them out of Texas. In 2014 the United States sent an influx of money to Mexico, helping them militarize
and fortify their southern border region. To understand why, you have to look at
this chart: the red line represents the number of Mexican migrants apprehended
while they’re crossing into the United States and the green line is for non-Mexican
migrants. Look at 2014: that’s when the number of non-Mexican migrants
outnumbered Mexican migrants for the very first time. What pushed this number up
were the migrants coming from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. And these people
fleeing from Central America aren’t just looking for jobs, they’re running away. So, there’s a war going on in Central America right now, it’s actually not just
one war it’s a ton of micro wars, “Unbelievable violence.” “Nearly one homicide an hour”. “Three of the five highest homicide countries in the world: Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.” “Carved up the city into warring factions”. Residents of these towns are at major risk of dying and so people are
fleeing. While riding with U.S. Border Patrol on the Texas border, I watched them apprehend a 22 year old and his son as they just made the three-week
journey up through Mexico from Honduras. These refugees walk into Mexico mostly
hoping to make it to the U.S. Many come here, to this town called Tapachula, just
north of the border where they can look for a migrant shelter to lie low and get
support and at this vulnerable point in their journey, many don’t want to show
their face on camera. And there were these threats just constantly came and
came and came to me and then one day I just said the hell with this I’m gone.
Mm-hmm. I burned my little Rancho and and I took off at two o’clock in the morning. The exodus out of Central America came to a head in 2014, when the U.S. saw a huge spike in the number of Central American kids and
teens arriving to the border without a parent. “It is a huge humanitarian crisis
on the border right now”. “52,000 unaccompanied children have been caught
at the US border with Mexico: double the number recorded last year”. “Children from
Honduras traveling into Guatemala, then Mexico, crossing the Rio Grande, and just
now arriving in Texas.” As soon as it became clear that this year’s migration
to the border was different than in past years, I directed FEMA to coordinate our
response at the border. Obama declared an urgent humanitarian situation at the
border. He discussed it with Mexican
president Peña Nieto. Peña Nieto walked away from that meeting and
immediately implemented a policy called “El Programa Frontera Sur”, the southern
border program. “And earlier this week Mexico announced a series of steps that
they’re gonna take on their southern border to help stem the tide”. For Peña Nieto, the plan had two main objectives: In short, the plan was supposed to make life better and safer for both migrants
and those living in the border region, which includes Mexico’s most
impoverished state, Chiapas. This migrant protection plan for the southern border
had been in the works for years, but it was rushed into implementation
apparently in response to American pressure. Many of the long-term plans
that were meant to give migrants legal support and protection fell away. Instead,
the implementation focused almost entirely on enforcement and security. “What’s easiest to do, I think, is enforcement because you already have the infrastructure set up.
Like it’s harder to create jobs, right, than it is to hire more immigration
agents to detain people.” Mexico’s quick solution to this was to
militarize, to start raiding buses to start putting up checkpoints, to start
cracking down on Central Americans who are coming into their country. A perfect
symbolic representation of this are these huge multi-agency complexes that
they built in order to house the immigration officials alongside the Army,
and the Marines, and the Federal Police. Mexico fortified its southern border
region and to help in the effort, the U.S. sent an influx of money and
equipment, using resources from an existing security partnership it had
with Mexico, dating back to 2007. This partnership was originally created to
combat drug trafficking and organized crime. The money was used here for things
like inspection equipment, k9 teams, observation towers, training for
immigration enforcement officials, communication networks to support
enforcement activities, and gear to collect biometric data like fingerprints
and photos of detained migrants. In short, the U.S. helped militarize the southern
border region of Mexico. The U.S. got what it was looking for. “In part because of strong efforts by Mexico including at its southern border, we’ve
seen those numbers reduced back to much more manageable levels.” Apprehensions on the Mexican side went up and people arriving to Texas or other parts of the
U.S. border went down, but this was all temporary. The number jumped back up in
2016, so the crackdown isn’t actually stopping people from getting to the
United States, but it is making their journey much more dangerous. Behind me is the train that Central
Americans take to get from here in southern Mexico, up to the border of the
United States. If it were 2014 this area would be completely packed with migrants. Migration officials targeted this train. They started conducting extensive raids
and the train companies hired guards, increasing the speeds of the trains and
installing concrete posts and walls to make it harder for people to jump aboard
and now gangs are a constant threat to the few travelers that remain. Here are the main routes that migrants took to get to the United States: they mainly follow
the train routes. These paths were well supported with migrant shelters and
clinics and most importantly large groups of other migrants, making it less
likely that people will be robbed or assaulted. Migrants often don’t know
where their next meal will come from or where they’re gonna sleep each night.
They depend on this network of usually church-sponsored shelters as they move
north. The 2014 crackdown targeted these routes, looking for migrants in popular
places like shelters and train stops. So migrants moving north have shifted into
unfamiliar, unsupported routes that multiply the dangers that they are
already subject to on this journey. Pushing these refugees away from well
trodden routes and into the shadows has made them more vulnerable to assaults by
criminals and gangs in this region. During this time the U.S. Border Patrol
started putting out public service announcements, about how dangerous the
journey through Mexico had become. This, in spite of the fact that U.S. policy
contributed to those risks. All of the shelter directors I talked to have
noticed an uptick in crimes against migrants since this crackdown. A study by
dozens of migration organizations in Mexico found that, of the 5,824
investigations into crimes against migrants, less than 1% had led to any
sort of sentence. And many crimes go unreported altogether. There’s not a lot
of trust in the Mexican justice system for migrants. Most migrants are now left on their own, navigating this remote
region where both gangs and corruption-prone police are looking for ways to
profit off vulnerable migrants. But perhaps the most egregious offence of the Mexican
state in this crackdown, comes down to what they didn’t do for these people
entering their country. When a Mexican immigration official detains a migrant,
that officer is required to inform them that they have the right to ask for
refugee status or asylum if they’re fleeing for their lives. Everyone I
talked to said that isn’t happening. There were 40,000 children who entered
into Mexico in 2016, and these children aren’t looking for jobs, they’re not
smuggling drugs, they’re looking for protection. Of the 40,000 that came here,
only 1% applied for asylum. That’s a dangerously low number for a
country that has said that it protects asylum seekers. Migrants who feel a threat to their lives in their own country have to fill out an application
and submit it to an agency that has the power to grant asylum or refugee status
in Mexico. This allows them to avoid being deported, to stay in the country,
but this agency that’s in charge of processing these applications only had
15 caseworkers dedicated to interviewing these applicants and while applications
are on pace to be 12 times what they were in 2013, this group’s budget only
grew 5% during the crackdown. The year the southern border program was
implemented, Mexico detained around a 119,000 Central Americans. It granted refugee status to only 460 of them, not
even a half a percent. That same year Mexico started deporting a lot more
Central Americans, so the southern border program made Mexico a lot better at
detaining and deporting people, but it definitely didn’t make Mexico a safer
place for refugees like it said it would. Now let’s get one thing straight, Mexico
has the right and the sovereignty to fortify its borders and to control who’s
coming in and out. That is their right as a sovereign nation. And some will wonder why is it Mexico’s problem to deal with
you know the problems and challenges of citizens of another country?
The problem is Mexico has signed all of the international conventions that
promise that they will take care of asylum seekers or refugees and give them
the legal protection so that they can feel safe. A report by the Migration Policy institute found that in 2014, The U.S. deported just 3 of every 100 unaccompanied children that it
apprehended on the border. Mexico on the other hand deported 77 for every 100
kids it apprehended. And yet when thousands of unaccompanied children
arrived at Texas’ border in 2014 the U.S. turned to Mexico to handle the delicate
and difficult work of screening and protecting these refugees fleeing for
their lives. The U.S. is paying Mexico to do its dirty work, knowing full well that
doing this will result in a much more dangerous situation for refugees. It drove them into the shadows, worsening their vulnerabilities. And in most cases, deporting them back to the violent places from which they came. One of the questions I know I’m gonna get a ton is: What is the name of this waterfall? Southern Mexico’s full of a lot of very beautiful scenery, and I got to see a lot of it as I was traipsing around the region, reporting this story. But this waterfall, it’s called El Chiflón and it’s in the state of Chiapas in Southern Mexico. It ended up being one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen, in all of my Borders reporting this summer. Especially once I got the drone up in the air and saw it from above. El Chiflón, in Chiapas. It’s a beautiful place.

100 thoughts on “How the US outsourced border security to Mexico

  1. So glad to be back from the break with Vox Borders. I'm publishing the last episodes weekly on Tuesdays, just like before.

    If you want to make sure you don't miss the episodes, best way is to sign up for my newsletter: Thanks everyone for following along!

    – Johnny

  2. I will never understand why neighboring countries do not convene and attempt to overthrow these corrupt governments and stabilize these countries. Sure it will be very difficult and costly but powers such as the United States have lost their moral compass.

  3. Does anyone know of any programmes or organizations I can donate to/volunteer with to help these refugees out?

  4. See this video, it was happening during Obama administration, not the Trump Administration. Just pointing that out

  5. Neither US nor Mexico has the duty to protect these refugees. If this migration is so egregious as you shown us, why don’t these Central Americans stand together and crack down their corrupted government and end the civil war. No nation can save other nations people

  6. We should take some of these kids and educate them in good economic policies like we did with the Chicago boys. We should take other kids and train them in good policing and counter terror strategies. Then we should take others and send them to West Point to train them in military strategies and leaderships. Then they can return home and with our support oust the criminals and corrupters.

    Good economic policies, effective policing, and an effective Army loyal to the people and not to bribes. Then provide loans for job creation and infrastructure. In 15-20 years they will have no reason to leave their home countries. Opportunity can be found in their own neighborhood rather than hundreds of miles away.

  7. Why dont they rise up? Start a revolution, they have to find it within themselves to fix their own problems?

  8. Their not migrants if they aren't going through the immigration program, they're illegal hands down.

  9. After an incredibly dangerous journey what’s their reward for finally reaching America? A country that doesn’t want them and treats them so horribly? MAGA?!

  10. fix your country. i dont want the violence and undercut jobs. people willing to live in squalor .I worked hard for my land here. I have children also. Keep your drugs.I Grow my food pay my taxes and cash for my home. The guilt is not mine. Blame everyone but yourself.

  11. Perhaps a more direct approach to this problem would be to send several hundred thousand American troops to Gutamela, Honduras and El Salvador. Then let these soldiers backed by helicopters and tanks kill all the criminals and establish law and order ?

  12. not to be insensitive or anything but it's not like we can just "accept" these people fleeing into our country because they cant pay taxes and they take up a lot of space in schools and average towns. half of them cant even speak english!

  13. Look, the problem is happening in the countries the people are coming from. It is THOSE COUNTRIES' RESPONSIBILITY to handle the problems they have. It is NOT the responsibility of those countries that happen to be adjacent to those countries to harbor the innocent victims. That's why there are borders.

  14. its a shame that as a mexican living in a border i hvent seeing videos like this, actually telling everything from a impartial point of view, great video, saludos desde juarez chihuahua mexico

  15. there are some solution (in my opinion) that might work, one being modernize/purge Mexico (police) so the the immigrants would go and stay in Mexico

  16. You call yourself a world power..but do you actually deserve to be a world power when you can't handle the migration problems from the countries where you yourself have created the don't had implemented prevention from migration and refugees by sanctioning protective laws against countries like Syria,Iraq, Afghanistan and countries from Africa..but the cause of this im migration problem is had created the problem and now you are denying the burden of the consequences due to this..

  17. What is stopping them from immigrating legally to Mexico, why do they need the luxuries of the USA if all they want is to get away from volience?

  18. Unpopular opinion, entering the country illegally is completely ok and those people should be helpedbrarher than shunned

  19. i think its not the presidents fault but i think its the police's fault they're stubborn and lazy

  20. If it was up to me, I'ld make sure México guaranteed basic human rights for migrants legal or illegal coming from the souh, but in no way can México, or the U.S. handle the massive influx of migrants anf properly protect them

  21. Great video, but I do wonder why the immigrants don't go south? It would make more sense as the languages and culture would be closer to home.

  22. It’s OK to seek for an asylum in numbers. But this people who come in a Caravans and demanding an asylum, while chanting “F-Trump” holding up their flags!. No one has to give it to them, when they have courage to say F-Tump! They can stay and fight the crime in their own Country. We don’t need them here. They think someone OWS them the life in USA. We don’t OWE them anything. They turned down the offers from the Mexican government for an asylum in Mexico. No, they want to come to USA with that criminal mentality. And we say Deport them back where they came from!.

  23. Awesome video as usual, however, I would like to know what the people who already live in the country, citizens, think about it, not just those fleeing. This goes with the other videos on borders.

  24. As a Mexican I can just feel bad for south american migrants they are easy targets for drug cartels
    Violence is everywhere here.

  25. And y'all are bashing trump for getting this filth out out country let the good ones in not the dirt bags

  26. instead of facing the real core problem, the US and Mexico are temporarily decreasing migration. The real solution is helping the innocent people that are suffering unfair danger.

  27. The only this I envy about America is how much they ignore their problems and act as if nothing is wrong. But having the nerve to point fingers on other countries and acting like saints LOL.

  28. So the real question is how do we deal with gangs in the “triangle” and make it so people don’t want to flee from there through Mexico to here. This is one of the few times I’m willing to let the US step in as it does benefit us directly

  29. Hey maybe a tip: fix corruption and drug producing instead of trying to keep Mexicans out, make living better in Mexico hu

  30. THE US IS PAYING MEXICO TO DO ITS DIRTY WORK. Thats the most important thing, Americans have to assume they're responsibility and not have another country deal with they're problems. Obama and the democrats who present themselves as migrants protectors are the ones that gave all that money to Mexico so migrants couldn't get to they're border, but they blame Trump for doing the same thing.

  31. i agree they need asylum seekers for legal immigrant to become a refugee and if they give them 200 peso they leave you alone if you have nothing on you then their gonna deport you to your home countries now

  32. Oh! The good days when Obama was president! 😭😭😭😭 What crimes the world committed to loose him and get Trump 😭

  33. The US and Mexico should not accept these asylum-seekers or immigrants. Because first of all , you do not know whether their stories are real or not. People can use really deceiving methods to get what they want. Not only that , but many of them who are waiting in the US while their court cases are being processed, don't even show up for their cases. Instead , they roam the US and enjoy benefits that a US citizen has. Some will even have children in the US as an anchor.

    But before you start judging or criticizing my opinion , I am not saying we shouldn't help these people. The US and Mexico should be helping these Latin countries combat their domestic violence and drug issues by providing financial aid or even security assistance. The way to solve and overcome this situation is to take care of it from where it stems. Not by letting it continue and keep on accepting these asylum-seekers and immigrants.

  34. As an American I am sickened by this!! These people just want to build a better life for themselves and their families!!! LET THEM COME!!!

  35. This video contradicts itself. You just said they are running from crime and end up seeing crime in mexico essentially being the same thing and yet wonder why they dont seek asylum. They didnt leave their families to end up in the same situation they left with only the goal to make it to usa and get a better job to be able to send back.

  36. 'there were these threats that constantly came and came and came…' uhuh. what threats javier? and where did you get that oakley shirt?

  37. in case you are wondering where did those gun come from, they are from the USA. more than 70% of those guns trace back to USA. USA should bear the consequences of these wars & violence. USA is sending guns & receiving migrants. If they love guns so much, they should love those migrants too.

  38. How about: fund the southern countries to improve their military and police forces to put down gang activity in high crime areas

  39. Everything in mexico is changing and has changed, since there is now a non corrupt Mexican president.. since before all the other presidents would do what ever the united states would say.. if you don’t believe me, do your own research then…

  40. Great informative video with data..
    I would like to see a video of the USA border and the result of the deteined

  41. So why the USA? There is no place within 2000 miles of home that is decent? Are we the only nice country on the continent? Or could it be all the free stuff and the comfortable lifestyle they come for? Mexico City and Guadalajara are great places, and 1/4 the distance. I still don't get the argument that we let them all in unabated. There are problems in the world, the solution to all of them isnt to bring everyone to the US….

  42. There are legal processes for this. Going into country without permission is illegal in most if not all countries.

  43. They should let them into the states that no ones really in , so they can make their own community and also have land and farm

  44. So the more people that we get from El Salvador Honduras and Mexico and the more my country will begin to resemble El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico… And I definitely don’t want that

  45. America has just as much crime as Mexico. So they can stay in Mexico. Everyone of our big cities are crime and drug infested ghettos. I've been to many of's like a 3rd world nation.

  46. What Mexico is RACIST?? Omg … Why do they want a strong boarder and not 1.5 million new refugee economic migrants.

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