The boundaries separating one state from another are always a controversial issue. Borders were often built in the course of hostilities and the division of land after any wars. However, is this land division so strict and uncompromising? This paper aims to analyze the significance of the border between the United States and Mexico and the people living there for the entire United States and American society.
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Initially, all those territories along which the state border between the United States and Mexico now ran belonged to the latter. Only in the middle of the 19th century, during the Texas Revolution and the Mexican-American War, did the United States annex the territories of the modern states of Texas, California, and others (Wallenfeldt, n.d.). Since this two thousand miles long line connects two vast states rich in natural resources, a tremendous amount of trade passes through the border. In 2018 alone, trade between the two countries amounted to more than $ 700 billion. Besides, Mexico is a massive supplier of labor to the United States. At the end of the 20th century, immigrants’ flow got out of control, and a vast number of Mexicans flooded the territories of the United States, especially the southern lands. According to statistics, in the early 2000s, the number of illegal border crossings was more than 200 thousand (Gonchar, 2019). Accordingly, this caused a violent reaction from the state services, which manifested itself, for example, in more than a million refusals to cross the border.
There are several reasons for this behavior of the Mexicans. First of all, it is necessary to understand that as a result of the annexation of the Republic of Texas in the middle of the 19th century, as well as the seizure of Western lands, many people who were previously Mexicans turned out to be part of the United States (Wallenfeldt, n.d.). Secondly, it is worth considering Mexico’s economy, which has been showing disappointing results lately. In many ways, this factor makes Mexican youth try to find some ways to develop in a neighboring state. They are often willing to take on jobs that seem poorly paid to Americans. However, for many Mexicans living in poverty in their country, even such opportunities do not exist. Therefore, if they have the slightest chance of earning money to support their family, they are ready to go to another country, even breaking the law and doing it illegally.
Finally, there are people for whom the law is not an obstacle at all. The border area is also used for all sorts of illegal activities such as arms and drug trafficking. Combining the factors described above contributes to the formation of stigma and prejudice against people living near the Mexican border. Although Mexican immigrants have nothing to do with the crime increase, American society has a distorted view of the United States and Mexico border and the people living there (Gonchar, 2019). Consequently, it is necessary to introduce various measures to reveal the truth about this region and eliminate existing prejudices.
First of all, it is necessary to address the concept of “the Wall,” highlighting this issue in detail, including in these conversations the experience of people living directly next to the border. There is a widespread misconception that the wall is meant to protect people, but from what danger? The wall cannot stop criminals only by its presence; in this case, the wall separates people from each other rather than protects them. This can be seen in the example of those cities that are on the border of Mexico and America, divided in two by a wall. Before its construction, people could easily visit each other, crossing the border by moving from one street to another (Gonchar, 2019). However, this structure’s construction now divides them, making life difficult for them while leaving enough ability to carry out illegal activities.
Therefore, in the first stage, it is necessary to disseminate as much factual information about people living near the border as possible, through, for example, documentaries. The more detailed these people’s lives are shown, the sooner the stigma against Mexicans and border areas can be eliminated. It is also necessary to include actual statistics in this info summary, which will show that there is no direct relationship between the flow of immigrants and the number of crimes. It is necessary to convey to American society that Mexicans do not differ from them, for the most part.
Secondly, specially designed programs should be used and implemented to achieve these goals. Provision of relevant information is an important step, but no less critical is local government and non-profit organizations’ work to create healthy communities. Cross-border regional innovation ecosystems (CBRIE) aim to solve several problems: creating a cultural network, building a dynamic and flexible self-governing system to protect innovation, and supporting the local level (Cappellano & Makkonen, 2019). Tests and studies of this model have shown that its implementation in problem regions can strengthen people’s interaction, especially when adapting this concept by various NCOs.
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With the help of the implementation of relations between the two states’ borders, friendly ties are strengthened, the number of prejudices is reduced. In combination with disseminating truthful information, it becomes possible to improve American society’s attitude both to the border itself and the people inhabiting it. Eliminating prejudice and existing stigma will stabilize relations between the two communities and turn the public’s attention to much more critical problems, namely, the traffic of smuggling and drugs. These issues have nothing to do with the nationality of the criminals, and people on both sides of the border must work together to improve the world in which they live.
Cappellano, F., & Makkonen, T. (2019). Cross-border regional innovation ecosystems: the role of non-profit organizations in cross-border cooperation at the US-Mexico border. GeoJournal, 85, 1515–1528. Web.
Gonchar, M. (2019). Deconstructing the wall: Teaching about the symbolism, politics, and reality of the U.S.-Mexico border. NY Times. Web.
Wallenfeldt, J. (n.d.). How the border between the United States and Mexico was established. Encyclopædia Britannica. Web.