Why many thousands of Haitians converged on the US-Mexico border


Source: CNN

Thousands of Haitian migrants have appeared at the US-Mexico border seeking to cross the Rio Grande and find refuge in the US.

Human rights activists are condemning images of US border agents, mounted on horseback, trying to head off migrants almost as if they’re herding cattle. The US special envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, has now resigned to protest the Biden administration’s “inhumane” effort to send them back to Haiti.


One Photographer Traveled the Full Length of the U.S. Border With Mexico

10/27/16 Time

Mexican-American_border_at_Nogales.jpgOver the course of several recent weeks, Getty Images photographer John Moore visited the Imperial Sand Dunes of southern California, Big Bend National Park in West Texas and the Boca Chica State Park, where the Rio Grande flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Moore wasn’t on holiday, but on assignment documenting the full length of the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

Stretching over 1,989 miles, the border is monitored by a wide array of federal agencies. There’s the Office of Field Operations, which regulated ports of entries and border crossings. There’s the Air and Marine Operations, which fly over border areas. There are 20,000 personnel that make up the Border Patrol. And there’s also the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, whose role is to deport undocumented immigrants. As Americans get ready to vote in November, Moore was motivated to capture those many moving pieces.

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U.S.-Mexico Teamwork Where the Rio Grande Is but a Ribbon

4/22/16 New York Times

Rio_grandeBIG BEND NATIONAL PARK, Tex. — There are places in the desert canyons of far West Texas where the border between the United States and Mexico amounts to an olive-green ribbon of water, so shallow that canoes scrape to a halt on the rocks. Here the Rio Grande — the border that has separated the two countries since 1848, with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo — narrows to a pinch. At times it is as wide as a school bus is long. At other times it is not even that wide. An owl can make the crossing with one or two flaps of its wings.

In these remote places in Big Bend National Park, the Rio Grande seems void of any power to divide. There are no boundary lines, no signs, no walls, no border agents on either side. To journey here to the vast, empty canyons of West Texas is to watch the border itself all but vanish as a physical and political space, an extraordinary feat in these times when the notion of the border often seems more a political construct than a geographic one.

Consider Los Diablos and the cane burns of the Rio Grande that played out this month. Los Diablos are a team of Mexican firefighters who are part of a group of Mexicans and Americans including firefighters, conservationists and park rangers. They travel along the most desolate stretches of the river not to put out fires, but to set them in a controlled burn meticulously planned to kill giant cane, a tall bamboo-style invasive grass that grows in dense patches on both sides of the river. The cane chokes and helps narrow the flow of the Rio Grande, which contributes to the frequency of flooding and to the burying of habitats for native plants and fish.

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Congressman: No Border Wall Because Rio Grande ‘Unites’ U.S. and Mexico

07/06/15 PJ Media

rio grandeRep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) said people who want a wall constructed between the U.S. and Mexico do not understand the “interconnection” between both countries.

“The Rio Grande doesn’t divide but actually unites us. There’s some people that see it a different way. They want to see the Rio Grande as a division. They want to see a wall and it’s just unfortunate they have that perspective. They don’t understand the interconnection we have with Mexico,” said Cuellar at a conference on “Building a Competitive U.S.-Mexico Border.”

“An import from China will have about 4 percent of American products in it. If something comes in from the United States, it will have about 40 percent and just during this trade agreement within my own party – I don’t want to say a heated discussion – but I had a lively discussion with one of our ranking persons on that because they started blaming Mexico on this and I said ‘woah,’” he added

Amid drought, Texas is fuming because Mexico isn’t sending the water it owes

09/08/14 The Washington Post

In 1945, President Harry S. Truman signed a treaty intended to bring fair play to the fight for water in the parched deserts of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Nearly 70 years later, engineer Roberto Enriquez de la Garza stood on the lip of the Amistad Dam — vultures circling overhead, grassy islands poking out of the depleted reservoir below — and explained why Mexico can’t hold up its side of the bargain.

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River of drugs runs through Rio Grande Valley

800px-Puerto_ColombiaUSA Today, 3/30/14

Last year, across the Southwest, the Border Patrol, Customs and Border Protection and other law-enforcement agencies intercepted more than 3.5 million pounds of marijuana — nearly a fifth of an ounce for every person in the United States. But in the Rio Grande Valley, for every load they capture, 10 slip through, local officials estimate. Federal law-enforcement officials agreed.

The loads get through because the drug cartels closely monitor the Border Patrol and other law-enforcement agencies. The cartels study their tactics and strategies, and adapt quickly. They use that knowledge and the corrupting influence of money to win the daily cat-and-mouse games that define drug smuggling across the Rio Grande. Encounters between agents and drug smugglers are frequent but rarely lethal. When cornered, drug runners are likely to abandon the loads of marijuana and escape back across the river.

Nationwide, nearly every drug-smuggling case in which Border Patrol agents did report responding with force over a 29-month period involved marijuana, The Arizona Republic found. Force can include using firearms, physical force, less-lethal weapons and devices to stop vehicles, like tire spike-strips.

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Building of New US-Mexico Border Crossing Stalls

El Paso, TexasAssociated Press, 6/3/2013

Jesse Grado walks cautiously past a welder whose work throws off a spray of brilliant sparks as construction crews lay slabs of concrete for a bridge over the Rio Grande. The leader of the project points to an empty void — the point where the six-lane span abruptly ends 30 feet above the river. Beyond the pavement is nothing but miles of Mexican farms, dirt and desert.

By June, this was supposed to be the site of a massive new customs-and-immigration facility that would provide a fourth international border crossing to handle U.S.-bound commercial traffic from Ciudad Juarez, one of North America’s biggest manufacturing hubs. Planners had hoped the $96 million undertaking would be an economic boon, attracting manufacturing plants and long lines of trucks that currently use two congested crossings between Ciudad Juarez and El Paso. But nearly two years after a ceremonial groundbreaking, not a shovel of dirt has been moved south of the border.

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Texas Medicaid Debate Complicated By Politics And Poverty

latino-healthNPR, 5/21/2013

When the sun rises over the Rio Grande Valley, the cries of the urracas — blackbirds — perched on the tops of palm trees swell to a noisy, unavoidable cacophony. That is also the strategy, it could be said, that local officials, health care providers and frustrated valley residents are trying to use to persuade Gov. Rick Perry and state Republican lawmakers to set aside their opposition and expand Medicaid, a key provision of the federal health law.

The Rio Grande Valley has a load of troubles: high unemployment, low-paying jobs, warring Mexican cartels, a meager tax base and legions of people without health insurance. While many of those woes seem incurable, expanding Medicaid to the region’s uninsured is, to , who runs several local health clinics, a no-brainer. “I think if we’re not ready, if Texas doesn’t buy in in the next three months, shame on us,” she says.

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US, Mexico Disagree Over Border Fence

ABC News/The Associated Press, 7/25/2012

An agency that monitors the U.S.-Mexico boundary is agreeing to a U.S. proposal to build border fence segments in a South Texas flood plain, a move Mexico opposes.

The decision by the U.S. International Boundary and Water Commission comes despite objections from its Mexican counterpart. Mexico argues the fence would deflect floodwaters to its side of the Rio Grande and violate a bi-national treaty.

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U.S. Agents Kill a Mexican Citizen according to the Mexican Secretary for Foreign Relations [in Spanish]

El Universal, 7/9/12

Border patrol agents from Brownsville Texas fired on Saturday after being threatened with a weapon and stones from the Mexican stide of the border.  Authorities subsequently announced the death of a youth from Tamaulipas after his body was found near the Rio Grande.  The head of the U.S. border patrol in that sector confirmed that his agents had fired after being attacked first.

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