Home / News / 🇲🇽 Migrants at the US-Mexico border: Overcoming walls and prejudice

🇲🇽 Migrants at the US-Mexico border: Overcoming walls and prejudice



When the US government was partially shut down, migrants and asylum seekers along the Mexican border continued trying to enter the country.

Efforts by President Donald Trump to force the Democratic Party, which controls the House of Representatives, to fund a border wall had reached an impasse, meaning there was no agreement on a budget.

The government shutdown impacted the normal functioning of unrelated operations of the US government. The crisis also affected people in Mexico who live along the trail the migrants take to get from Central America to the United States.

And at the centre of the crisis were the migrants seeking a better future in the US. Some simply jump over the wall; others, especially men, seek the help of smugglers to cross the border.

Javier has smuggled people across the border for more than 25 years, since he was 14.

He says it’s all “changed a lot (since he started smuggling). It first used to take us two to four hours. Then, the way became six to eight hours, and 10 years later, we needed 15 to 20 hours. Nowadays, it takes us 40 to 45 hours to cross the border.”

Since Trump has deployed soldiers and helicopters and installed sensors along the border “it’s more complicated. We now have to go around to stay away from the border patrol and it costs more.”

However “there’s always another way,” says Javier, who believes that Trump’s wall cannot stop people from crossing the border. It may be “very high. But we will overcome it.”

Bibian is a Guatemalan migrant who has made her way to Mexico. She and her family suffered the damage caused by tropical storm Agatha, so she wanted to seek a better life for her family.

“I dreamed of going to the US because it seemed very easy,” Bibian says. “That’s why many people came along. I thought we could overcome the barriers and move forward without any problem. I didn’t know what we would suffer.”

She realised that “it’s not going to be easy. There are a lot of racist people who say we’re bringing diseases. There are also good people … those who crossed as migrants and eventually became US citizens. They are supporting us.”

“It’s an adventure for me. It’s not humiliating or below me. It really is an adventure.”

But opposition against migrants does not just come from the American side of the border. In Tijuana, Alfredo, a restaurant owner and accountant, says he feels his town has been hijacked. But he also blames the Mexican government for not handling the situation in a better way.

“The very first day we had 500 people here, many of them asked me for power for their cellphones; many of them, children, they asked me for soda, for a pizza. I gladly gave them to them … but was disappointed,” he recalls. “People are afraid of Central American people because on Facebook a lot of people say that they are … people that are coming to damage the society.”

“We need to get our city back, because right now it feels like it’s been kidnapped.”

Hector from Honduras made the journey to the US as a teenager, but he “returned from America because I became an alcoholic and things didn’t go well. I thought it was better to leave and return at another time … Now that I am an adult, I want to return to the US,” says Hector.

“My [pregnant] wife made it to the US. She wasn’t hurt or injured.”

Asked about anti-immigrant prejudice on the rise, Hector says: “We are migrant workers. If they could only see the place we came from they would understand.”

“It’s easy to conclude that migrants are criminals or that we come to pollute the place … It’s very tough what we’ve endured to get here, but it doesn’t matter, the most important thing for us is getting to the US. It hurts, but what can we do against such stereotypes?

“There are some of us who may not behave well when they’re in other countries. If I’m here in Mexico, I need to be good. And no matter where I go to, I will be good.”

Talk to Al Jazeera In the Field meets the people at the centre of the crisis along Mexico’s northern border: smugglers, migrants, asylum seekers and locals.

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29 comments

  1. Illegal immigrants are gaming the system, just because the loopholes democrats has in place, so they are taking full advantage of, they wouldn't never do that in Mexico. All manipulating the system.

  2. America have their own people with problems…. America is not Heaven. They have to take care of their own citizens……

  3. Where is the prejudice? I can see a wall, but NO prejudice.

  4. The whole world is overpopulated. Those countries who have kept their reproduction down to fewer than two children on average, need governments that will protect their citizens from the profligate breeding of third world countries.

  5. Trump has money to start building. Then he can ask for and get more. He wants all of it at once because its easier to skim from. He's so in debt.

  6. I can’t tell she sitting on the rock or rock sitting on her

  7. This’s so fake no one going to tell all that.
    That is one of her people she needs to lose some weight first

  8. No prejudice you just can't barge into a sovereign Nation without consequence, the United States is a sovereign Nationyou must apply to come in the right way

  9. We have to protect are border .The same way the Swiss try to protect theirs from Russians.

  10. Wait a minute did he say there are no jobs? Then why are they coming across the border. I thought that was the purpose to get a job here in America. So his job is smuggling people into a country that has no jobs? This immigration stuff is deep and it goes beyond President Trump, this didn't start with his presidency

  11. Those people just want a free ride, leaches.

  12. all those scumbags trying to get into USA……..should be shot on sight……………….no one cares about them……….there all criminals and she be executed after they get in………………

  13. @4:54 why is this guy holding his hands in a masonic sign?

  14. Why is (almost) everyone against Mexicans? 😩☹️😢. I don't see anything wrong with them. They're are just like us. People in U.S rape other people, deal drugs, and bring crime. I'm latina and I don't think it's fair to the Mexicans. Y sí sé español. Solo deseo que los estadounidenses tratemos a los mexicanos por igual.

  15. WOW! THIS GUY TELLING IT ALL! y take the risk of speaking on how you illegally get thru? Now there gonna watch this and stop your operation even harder!. ..

  16. How much do these people get paid for over exaggerating the truth??? By over exaggerating they become lies!!!!

  17. Every state city and county have a capacity to hold some people
    But u can't flood the cities just bcz ur country is not providing the good stuff

  18. Americans are awesome people… if while country Mexican flood to US why can't they resist.. Mexican government should help them to be safe in their country.. Trump is right

  19. If they aren't commiting a crime why hide your face?

  20. I want to know what poverty these people are talking about! There all fat and could afford to lose a good 50-75 lbs especially the hippo that fell in love on the way north!!! She suffering from poverty but has gold around her fat neck!!

  21. Can somebody please check 14:35 the lady says to the reporter quote "we didn't experience hunger but we didn't have a house or a car…". This means these people are economic migrants. Why are Democrats dying for these people to be poured into the country? This is becoming sickening of Democrats doing everything to build future voting blocks through these people.

  22. Mexicos government should be embarrassed that they're people want to leave. All those countries where caravans are coming from should be ashamed. It's there government's fault. Let's just take um over like iraq🤷‍♂️

  23. GO HOME YOU EVIL BABY RAPERS, OR WE WILL HAVE TO SHOOT,

  24. When are they gonna get it through their stupid heads that they're not welcome here?

  25. Esas Toninas Jackson no van a montar el Muro Estan Vien Pansona s Se Paresen como Marranas y Elefantes, Pero disen las vamos aser, no inportan la Altura de el Muro, Yo quiero Yegar a USA, alla me espeara Todo Gratis, No tengo que Trabajar en America.

  26. I beg to differ. The Democratic Party was not in the majority during the US government partial shut down. And in fact, agreements were made several times between the president and Congress. He refused to sign each final bill (the next day) (with the same clauses as agreed upon by the president).

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