Sunday, February 26, 2017

U.S.-Mexican border's 2,000 miles of illegal crossing opportunity (Photos)

These photos show the ingenuity and perseverance of those who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexican border's 2,000 miles of opportunity

A man is found hidden in the seat of a vehicle being used to smuggle people into the United States from Mexico at the San Ysidro port of entry in San Diego, 2001. (Immigration and Naturalization Services/AP Photo)

Borders are never as simple as a clean division between countries. Especially—as with the Mexico-U.S. dynamic—when one nation wants for more than its neighbor, the border will always be an invitation to those who see promise on its far side. North-bound migrants have long plotted paths across our southern extremities. Day laborers or residents, legal or unauthorized, their movements and motivations — to move forward by any means possible —are as personal as they are pragmatic.

The border is porous, but our understanding of it is not. Our media project a quasi-militarized zone of ambiguous proportions. Dusty and hot, under surveillance, desperate. The tenacity of would-be migrants is at once unsettling and inspirational, and the task of maintaining control over 2,000 miles of treacherous sprawl is an impossible one. In reality, no wall could fully block the perseverance of determined people.

An SUV customized to resemble a border patrol vehicle was used to smuggle a dozen people into Texas in 2015. (Laredo Border Patrol Sector/AP)

In these “handout” photos provided or arranged for media by various border-entrenched government agencies, it becomes clear that pictures are a tool for establishing the state’s own immigration narrative. Photos of modified vehicles, hidden tunnels, and clandestine overland crossings conjure an imaginative and dynamic torrent of bodies heading north. The intended implication is operational success through interception. Yet the failure of individual migrants betrays a flawed system. Mechanisms of power work well as intimidation. But the difficulty of keeping a “flood” of illegal crossers at bay is made apparent—the absurdist back-and-forth between law enforcement and migrants inadvertently reveals a disorder which darkly undermines the pretense of control.

A 1964 U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service photograph shows how three men attempted to cross into the United States hiding under the false floor of a pick-up truck. (AP Photo)
A 38-year-old Brazilian man is discovered inside the modified gas tank of a 2001 Toyota Sequoia in March, 2016. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection/AP)

A U.S. Customs Border Patrol Air and Marine Division UAV Predator drone captures a group of 19 people crossing the border, as seen on a command center video monitor at Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, Arizona, 2007. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Two people wear white plastic bags on their heads to better resemble industrial pollution in order to prevent detection by U.S. border patrol agents after crossing the border near Calexico, California, in 2005. (David McNew/Getty Images)

(L) A Border Patrol officer demonstrates how he found an immigrant curled up on the engine beneath the hood of a car at a border crossing in San Diego in 1954. (AP Photo) / (R) An officer of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service discovers a group of undocumented immigrants under the floor of a van at a check point at San Clemente, Texas, in 1984. (AP Photo/Phillip Davies)

Police bodycam footage shows the apprehending of thirty-nine Central American immigrants discovered inside a truck in Moore, Texas, in 2015. (Frio County Sherrif’s Department/AP)

A tunnel at a newly-built home in Calexico, California, runs the length of four football fields to a restaurant in Mexicali, Mexico, in 2016. It was the 12th completed secret passage that U.S. authorities have discovered along California’s border with Mexico since 2006. (U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California/AP)
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