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Cross-Border Issues Group - (CBIG)

The Cross-Border Issues Group supports North American travel and bi-national student exchanges to investigate how people living across borders experience issues.  CBIG exchanges lead to research and journalistic reports that provide an intercultural perspective on significant social issues.

Migrant who fell off a train in Ixtepec and injured his chest

Migrant injured in fall from a freight train in Ixtepec, in southern Oaxaca.    Photo:  Rodrigo Guzman Serrano


Recent Reports/Videos on North American Immigration

Unaccompanied Children (UACs) Migrant Detainee Problems

NGOs have estimated that up to 60,000 underage undocumented migrants will enter the United States in 2014, and many of them will be apprehended by ICE and Border Patrol.  That is a vast increase in the number of UAC entrants and detainees compared with past years.  This has created a crisis over what to do with these young people, many of whom have no information about their parents or guardians, particularly the increasingly large number of child detainees from Central America.  (Read more about this under-reported immigration problem.)

Coyote Interview Video

CBIG researchers have interviewed coyotes over the years, but none has been willing to go on camera, until now. In Interview with a Coyote a former coyote, who we call Alejandro, describes how he crossed people through the Southwest desert, helping them arrive at cities throughout the United States. He also relates how he evaded the tighter border security after the 2001 terrorist attacks, and how transnational criminal organizations have taken control over the increasingly profitable and dangerous border smuggling businesses. Go to Interview with a Coyote (2012, 12 min. 51 sec.).

CBIG Gives Presentations on the "Albergue System" of migrant shelters in Mexico

ShaeferCBIG has visited many shelters, known is Spanish as "albergues," that cater to Central American migrants who are journeying north through Mexico into the United States. (See the CBIG Web page on the Albergue System.)

Our page on albergues has Richard Schaefer's videotaped PowerPoint, titled "The North American Albergue System," first given at the Binational Conference on Border Issues in 2011. Since 2007 CBIG has conducted many visits to varioius migrant shelters in Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico.  Also See Schaefer's earlier 33-page account of his 2009 stay in the Casa Migrante in Lecheria, Estado de Mexico, edited by Carolyn Gonzales and JoAnn Schaefer. (Download PDF file.)

Sealing the Southwest Border:  Accounts from Hidalgo and Cochise Counties

At times the border residents in New Mexico and Arizona feel abandoned by DHS and local law enforcement policies that have increased incidents of illegal activity on their lands, but have not effectively sealed many rural border areas.  Richard Schaefer and Carolyn Gonzales produced six in-depth reports on border problems: 1. Sealing the Border, 2. DHS Chokepoint Strategy, 3.  Recent Border History, 4. Living in No-Man’s- Land, 5. Three-Tiered Pricing for Smuggling Humans, 6. Big Money’s Corrupting Influence. Go to Southwest Border Stories of Smuggling and Immigration to see these and other edited stories in a series compiled from interviews in Grant and Hidalgo Counties in New Mexico and Cochise County in Arizona, as well as Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico.  Also see an extended print report titled "Sealing the Southwest Border: Accounts from Hidalgo and Cochise Counties."

Border Security Techniques in the Southwest Video

Carolyn Gonzales and U.S.B.P. Agent Gomez

   CBIG's Carolyn Gonzales with Agent Ralph Gomez "on the line" near El Paso, Texas (frame from CBIG video)

U.S. Border Patrol efforts to seal the border are depicted in a short video filmed in the El Paso Sector of the Southwest border. Agent Ralph Gomez describes Border Patrol techniques for thwarting unauthorized crossings,  Go to the video titled Border Security Techniques in the Southwest (Posted in Jan. 19, 2012, 4 min. 34 sec.).

Effects of SB 1070 on Neighboring States

What has happened to New Mexico and Arizona in the wake of SB 1070? UNM journalism student Liliana Benitez De Luna traces some of the outcomes of this controversial legislation, including a inflow of undocumented immigrants into New Mexico.  Read her report titled the Effects of SB 1070.  Benitez De Luna produced the while interning at the UNM Washington-TRNS News Bureau during the Spring 2012 semester.  

Human Trafficking Chapter

Also. . . CBIG’s Richard Schaefer and Carolyn Gonzales have written an in-depth account describing the often-tenuous line between illicit human border crossing and human trafficking of migrants, and how it affects undocumented migrants and the ranchers, farmers, and border residents in two rural Southwest United States counties. The report draws on CBIG’s primary-source accounts from Hidalgo and Cochise Counties, as well as accounts of the abuses Central American migrants face when traveling through Mexico. The chapter, titled “Human Trafficking Through Mexico and the Southwest Border: Accounts from Hidalgo and Cochise Counties,” has been published in a book on human trafficking edited by Susan Tiano and Moira Murphy-Aguilar. Borderline Slavery: Mexico, United States, and the Human Trade was released in 2012 by Ashgate Publishing. The CBIG chapter is available for reviewers, journalists and researchers from Richard Schaefer --


Keep up with some older CBIG Blogs:

CBIG: UNM Cross-Border Issues Group Blog
          by various CBIG personnel

UNM Today: CBIG Visits Altar, Sonora, Mexico
          by Carolyn Gonzales

UNM Today: CBIG Visits Lordsburg & Douglas
          by Carolyn Gonzales

Daily Lobo: On the other side of the fence
          by Andrew Beale, UNM

Rodrigo Guzmán:  CBIG blogs/videos/podcasts
          by Rodrigo Guzmán | Tec de Monterrey & UNM


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