The Beast was first published in Spanish in 2010 and then translated to English in 2013. It provides accounts of Central American migrants as they travel through Mexico to eventually reaching the US border. I liked the descriptions of the various actors; migrants, Mexican authorities, coyotes, small-time criminals, drug gangs, etc and how they interacted with each other. It gave me more of a role of these various actors.
While it didn’t spend a lot of time describing the conditions the migrants left, one definitely got a sense that people motivated to pass through all this in Mexico wouldn’t likely be deterred by simple barriers – and also some perspective of why ‘caravans’ might have arisen.
Overall, thought it was well-written account. I don’t know how much as changed since 2010/2013. I’m sure specific dynamics of parts of the border areas may have, though we still have the overall area of Central American migrants becoming particularly prominent from 2014 onwards. This is a good read.
While a wall certainly gets bandied about Trump’s camp and even presented at *the* solution to fixing immigration, it isn’t quite important enough to register for this group focused on the same topic. That to some extent underscores how much the wall has become more of a symbolic than practical approach.
they describe a wall as “a soundbite, not a cogent public policy position” and point out America needs to move past this lightning rod to actual discussion of border security. They say walls make sense in some places but a wall is not a universal solution.
However, not to hard to see given the vast expanse of the border and existing examples of corruption and the money involved that those sparsely populated stretches of border might provide new corruption opportunities.
Another recent story of a pattern that seems to be emerging. A large group of asylum seekers crossing a relatively open part of border, spotted via other means (camera) and then turning themselves into border agents.
Some might argue that this is an example of why such remote areas might also need more walls. However, it isn’t quite so simple. As the article explains, the dynamic has changed – these aren’t individual mostly Mexican males crossing for seasonal work.
Instead this group is Central American, mostly family groups seeking to enter the asylum process. While they are crossing the border illegally, they aren’t trying too hard to evade border patrol – and instead giving themselves up for processing. Add more border wall in this particular section and other places will be used for similar efforts.
Also as the article points out, the total number of apprehensions has dramatically declined in the last decade.
Another recent story tells us since October, some 25 groups of more than 100 migrants have crossed at the remote entry point of Antelope Wells
Antelope Wells is remote enough that the small staff lives onsite for a week at a time and the crossing is only open from 10am to 4pm. Meanwhile, at the border staff is overwhelmed drug mules can also make crossings.
The President recently cited an example of San Antonio as support for a border wall.
“Everybody knows that walls work. You look at different places they put up a wall, no problem. You look at San Antonio,” Trump said. “You look at so many different places. They go from one of the most unsafe cities in the country to one of the safest cities, immediately, immediately.”
Cuero (rural TX between Houston/San Antonio/Corpus Christi, not border)
Texarkana (East Texas, not border)
Mathis (rural near Corpus Christi, not border)
Elsa (Rio Grande Valley)
Lone Star (rural East Texas, not border)
Balcones Heights (San Antonio metro, not border)
There is really no correlation with border areas and crime and McAllen, Laredo, Brownsville and El Paso all generally tout their relatively low crime rates.
When FBI data was analyzed in 2017 for the nationwide list in 2017, there were five Texas cities that made the list (Odessa, Balch Springs, Houston, Lubbock, Beamont) none of which is along the border.
I have seen it suggested that perhaps Trump intended to refer to El Paso as a city that went from a higher crime rate to lower – as the same example has been used in other occasions. One difficulty with that is in 2005 (a year before the Secure Fence act of 2006), El Paso was ranked as 2nd safest city over 500,000.