Научная статья на тему 'The US-Mexico border: cross-border interaction in historic perspective'

The US-Mexico border: cross-border interaction in historic perspective Текст научной статьи по специальности «Социальная и экономическая география»

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АМЕРИКАНО-МЕКСИКАНСКАЯ ГРАНИЦА / ТРАНСГРАНИЧНОЕ ВЗАИМОДЕЙСТВИЕ / США / МЕКСИКА / НЕЛЕГАЛЬНАЯ ИММИГРАЦИЯ / THE US-MEXICO BORDER / CROSS-BORDER COOPERATION / THE USA / MEXICO / ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

Аннотация научной статьи по социальной и экономической географии, автор научной работы — Pantyukhina Tat'Yana

The paper features the US-Mexico cross-border cooperation from the formation of the border in the mid-nineteenth century until present. During most of the XIX-th century the border region was largely under-populated and underdeveloped. The two sides of the borderland developed unevenly due to discrepancies in the economic, social and political potential of the two nations. On the American side the development of the new territories came in the form of a series of "booms and busts" of settlement and economic activity. The Mexican border region did not develop as rapidly and depended mostly on its closeness to the USA, due to its far distance from business centers in Mexico. In the late XIX -early XX centuries Mexican border communities flourished due to US investments into railroads and mining industry. A new economic order in the Mexican border region started in the mid-twentieth century with Border Industrialization Program, which set up maquiladoras manufacturing plants to assemble products with imported from the USA parts and raw materials into inished goods to be shipped back to the USA. Maquiladoras converted Mexican border-states into highly industrialized special economic zones. NAFTA made a controversial impact on the border region. NAFTA facilitated maquiladora industry, but on the American side of the border many businesses declined as Mexicans nearly stopped crossing the border for shopping because American goods became available at reasonable prices in Mexico. The border region has lots of popular tourist destinations. Since the early XX-th century, it has become infamous for vice tourism, which was based on differences in law relating to alcohol, drugs and gambling in the two countries. The most urgent issues which are in the centre of heated public and political debates in the USA are illegal immigration and drug traficking. The US government has two approaches towards the problems: immigration law and strengthening the border through its militarization and the construction of the wall.

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АМЕРИКАНО-МЕКСИКАНСКАЯ ГРАНИЦА: ПРОБЛЕМЫ ТРАНСГРАНИЧНОГО ВЗАИМОДЕЙСТВИЯ В ИСТОРИЧЕСКОЙ РЕТРОСПЕКТИВЕ

В статье освещаются проблемы трансграничного взаимодействия в пограничном регионе США-Мексика в период от создания границы в середине XIX в. и до настоящего времени. На протяжении большей части XIX в. приграничный регион оставался слабо заселенным и мало освоенным. Две стороны приграничья развивались по-разному вследствие экономических, социальных и политических различий между двумя странами. Освоение американской стороны происходило в форме энергичной экспансии, сопровождавшейся взлетами и падениями деловой активности. Мексиканское приграничье осваивалось не столь стремительно, его развитие определялось географической близостью к США и удаленностью от деловых центров Мексики. На рубеже XIX-XX вв. стимулом для развития приграничья стали американские инвестиции в железнодорожное строительство и добывающую промышленность. Новая экономическая ситуация сложилась в мексиканском приграничье в сер. ХХ в. с запуском Программы Индустриализации Границы. Были основаны maquiladoras предприятия по изготовлению продукции из сырья, импортируемого из США, с целью отправки конечного продукта обратно в США. Эти предприятия превратили мексиканские приграничные штаты в высоко индустриальные особые экономические зоны. НАФТА оказала двойственное влияние на приграничье. Договор способствовал дальнейшему развитию maquiladoras, однако на американской стороне границы бизнес во многом пришел в упадок, поскольку американская продукция стала доступна в Мексике, и мексиканцы практически перестали приезжать за товарами. Приграничный регион богат туристическими дестинациями. С нач. ХХ в. он приобрел дурную репутацию благодаря «порочному туризму», который был порожден различиями в законодательстве двух стран, касающегося алкоголя, наркотиков и азартных игр. Актуальные проблемы, находящиеся сегодня в центре острых общественных и политических дебатов это нелегальная иммиграция и наркотрафик. Американское правительство придерживается двух подходов к решению этих проблем: иммиграционное законодательство и укрепление границы посредством ее милитаризации и возведения стены.

Текст научной работы на тему «The US-Mexico border: cross-border interaction in historic perspective»

УДК 94(72/73)

Т. В. Пантюхина

АМЕРИКАНО-МЕКСИКАНСКАЯ ГРАНИЦА: ПРОБЛЕМЫ ТРАНСГРАНИЧНОГО ВЗАИМОДЕЙСТВИЯ В ИСТОРИЧЕСКОЙ РЕТРОСПЕКТИВЕ

В статье освещаются проблемы трансграничного взаимодействия в пограничном регионе США-Мексика в период от создания границы в середине XIX в. и до настоящего времени. На протяжении большей части XIX в. приграничный регион оставался слабо заселенным и мало освоенным. Две стороны приграничья развивались по-разному вследствие экономических, социальных и политических различий между двумя странами. Освоение американской стороны происходило в форме энергичной экспансии, сопровождавшейся взлетами и падениями деловой активности. Мексиканское приграничье осваивалось не столь стремительно, его развитие определялось географической близостью к США и удаленностью от деловых центров Мексики. На рубеже XIX-XX вв. стимулом для развития приграничья стали американские инвестиции в железнодорожное строительство и добывающую промышленность.

Новая экономическая ситуация сложилась в мексиканском приграничье в сер. ХХ в. с запуском Программы Индустриализации Границы. Были основаны maquiladoras - предприятия по изготовлению продукции из сырья, импортируемого из США, с целью отправки конечного продукта обратно в США. Эти предприятия

превратили мексиканские приграничные штаты в высоко индустриальные особые экономические зоны. НАФТА оказала двойственное влияние на приграничье. Договор способствовал дальнейшему развитию maquiladoras, однако на американской стороне границы бизнес во многом пришел в упадок, поскольку американская продукция стала доступна в Мексике, и мексиканцы практически перестали приезжать за товарами.

Приграничный регион богат туристическими дести-нациями. С нач. ХХ в. он приобрел дурную репутацию благодаря «порочному туризму», который был порожден различиями в законодательстве двух стран, касающегося алкоголя, наркотиков и азартных игр.

Актуальные проблемы, находящиеся сегодня в центре острых общественных и политических дебатов - это нелегальная иммиграция и наркотрафик. Американское правительство придерживается двух подходов к решению этих проблем: иммиграционное законодательство и укрепление границы посредством ее милитаризации и возведения стены.

Ключевые слова: американо-мексиканская граница, трансграничное взаимодействие, США, Мексика, нелегальная иммиграция.

T. V. Pantyukhina

THE US-MEXICO BORDER: CROSS-BORDER INTERACTION IN HISTORIC PERSPECTIVE

The paper features the US-Mexico cross-border cooperation from the formation of the border in the mid-nineteenth century until present. During most of the XIX-th century the border region was largely under-populated and underdeveloped. The two sides of the borderland developed unevenly due to discrepancies in the economic, social and political potential of the two nations. On the American side the development of the new territories came in the form of a series of "booms and busts" of settlement and economic activity. The Mexican border region did not develop as rapidly and depended mostly on its closeness to the USA, due to its far distance from business centers in Mexico. In the late XIX -early XX centuries Mexican border communities flourished due to US investments into railroads and mining industry.

A new economic order in the Mexican border region started in the mid-twentieth century with Border Industrialization Program, which set up maquiladoras - manufacturing plants to assemble products with imported from the USA parts and raw materials into finished goods to be shipped back to the USA. Maquiladoras converted Mexican

border-states into highly industrialized special economic zones. NAFTA made a controversial impact on the border region. NAFTA facilitated maquiladora industry, but on the American side of the border many businesses declined as Mexicans nearly stopped crossing the border for shopping because American goods became available at reasonable prices in Mexico.

The border region has lots of popular tourist destinations. Since the early XX-th century, it has become infamous for vice tourism, which was based on differences in law relating to alcohol, drugs and gambling in the two countries.

The most urgent issues which are in the centre of heated public and political debates in the USA are illegal immigration and drug trafficking. The US government has two approaches towards the problems: immigration law and strengthening the border through its militarization and the construction of the wall.

Key words: the US-Mexico border, cross-border cooperation, the USA, Mexico, illegal immigration.

Cross-border cooperation is a specific type of cross-regional interaction conditioned by territorial proximity of adjacent areas across borders. It results from the interaction of three key elements: "nature -population - economy" by bringing the different actors - people, enterprises and communities, institutions and organizations, - closer to each other, in order to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the mutual development of the cross-border area.

In the U.S.-Mexico context, the concepts of the border, borderlands, and the frontier represent their ongoing complex geopolitical, cultural, and historical relations. With the signing of the Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty in 1848 and the Gadsden Purchase in 1853, the Mexican and US governments established the southern border of the United States. The border is the international boundary line between the two countries, and the borderlands are the zones neighboring both sides of that boundary. It is a place where the two distinct Americas: Anglo-Saxon America and Latin America - collide daily, creating borderlands that amount to collective spaces of transcultural/ transnational encounters.

The US-Mexico border extends from the Pacific Ocean to the west and Gulf of Mexico to the east. It stretches about 2000 miles from the southern tip of Texas to California. The border goes across a variety of landscapes, ranging from uninhabitable deserts to urban centers. It is the most frequently crossed boundary in the world, with nearly one million people and one billion dollars worth of commerce crossing the border each day [24].

The border area comprises four states in the United States (Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California) and six states in Mexico (Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila de Zaragoza, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas). The actual US-Mexico border region, according to La Paz Agreement of 1983, is defined as the area of land being 100 kilometers (62.5 miles) north and south of the international boundary [2].

The population for this stretch of land is approximately 15 million people. Two of the ten fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the USA - Laredo and McAllen - are located on the Texas-Mexico border. Additionally, in the actual border region there are about 25 Indian tribes [21].

During most of the XIX-th century the US-Mexico border region was largely unpopulated and underdeveloped. In the mid-nineteenth century this fact proved to be a liability for Mexico and a point of interest to the United States, which was seeking to expand its frontier. Following the US-Mexico War of 1846-1848, this expansion came in the form of a series of "booms and busts" of settlement and economic activity on the American side of the border.

The economic development of the Mexican border region depended mostly on its closeness to the USA, due to its far distance from business centers in Mexico. During the years of Mexican President Porfirio Diaz (1876-1911) the border communities flourished. Railways were built which connected the Mexican border-states more to the USA than to Mexico. The mining industry also boomed, so did

the American control of it. By the early XX-th century 81 % of the mining industry was under control of US companies. Overall, Americans had invested 500 million dollars in the Mexican economy, 25 % of it in the border regions [3].

The true measure of American dominance of the borderlands was perhaps not the war of 1846-1848 with Mexico, but the conversion of the borderlands into a highly regulated resource frontier. The borderland was rich with natural resources: gold, copper, oil and land itself, which meant, according to both American and Mexican upper classes, that it should be developed for profit. In order to facilitate the circulation of capital, transportation and communication infrastructure was developed. By the 1880s the borderland had been modernized with railroad trunk lines that connected the Mexican interior to the greater United States. By 1896, US investors had funded the construction of 7,146 miles of track in Mexico. The American investment in Mexican transportation infrastructure was immense. This helped transform the borderland from an insular fringe zone into a membrane that facilitated the long distance transfer of commodities from the Mexican interior throughout the United States [26, p. 209].

Mexican President Porfirio Diaz encouraged international investment not only from the USA, but Germany and Britain as well. These policies also transformed the border. New ports of entry - along with customs houses to extract tariff revenues -sprang up all along the international boundary. Each new port represented a bilateral building project that further joined the transportation infrastructures and markets of Mexico and the United States. This led to the sprawling border towns. By the early XX-th century new border towns had emerged as bustling centers of commerce, community, and government oversight.

A new economic order in the border region started in the 1940s. In 1942 the United States and Mexico launched a major project - the Bracero Program, which was an agricultural guest worker program. Millions of Mexican field workers migrated to the USA to fill the labor shortage left by World War II. Between 1942 and 1964, over 4.5 million Mexicans came to work under the Bracero Program [27].

The Bracero Program was shut down in 1964. In 1965 it was replaced with the Border Industrialization Program (BIP). The former Program helped Mexican-ize agricultural work in the American Southwest and West. The new program helped urbanize the Mexican North. The new Program set up maquiladoras -manufacturing plants to assemble products in Mexico. The USA imported raw materials such as fabrics and parts to Mexico free of any trade duties. Mexico provided labour force. Local workers processed and assembled the materials into finished goods. Once completed, the goods were shipped into the USA. The factories produced textiles, electronics and even automobiles. The US paid import tax only on the value added in Mexico. In other words, the Mexican border-states were converted into special economic zones.

Most maquiladoras were owned by Americans, but many Japanese, Korean, European companies like Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, Toshiba, Toyota -operated maquiladoras as well. Most factories took roots in Mexican border-states, namely, in three major border towns: Tijuana, Mexicali and Ciudad Juarez [9, pp. 99-100].

Maquiladoras delivered economic and other benefits to Mexico. They provided job opportunities for locals. On the other hand, maquiladoras have brought about a number of negative effects. Some of them are the following: risky and unhealthy labour places, which resulted into labor diseases and accidents; child labour; damage to the environment. The factories polluted the air and water with toxic chemicals. They were also blamed for increased birth defects and cancer along the border.

Another negative consequence was that maquiladoras put strong pressure on local infrastructure. Water and sewage systems in border towns could not keep pace with worker boom. Moreover, maquiladoras workers could not afford adequate accommodation. So, outside the Mexican border towns shantytowns sprouted. They had no drinking water, sewers, lighting or paved streets. To build their shacks people used garbage [5, pp. 43-46].

In 1994 another program - the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) - went into effect. NAFTA liberalized commerce between Canada, the United States and Mexico. As for NAFTA's impact on the border region, maquiladora industry boomed. The number of maquiladoras has increased substantially - 160 % since 1990, especially in Baja California. Employment has increased 440 % since 1990 [9, p. 106].

All in all, in the successive decades, maquiladoras showed above-average developmental dynamics (12 plants in 1965 and 2810 plants in 2006). Since the 1960-s maquiladoras have been a key driver of the Mexican economy. They have become the second important symbol of the Mexican economy, after crude oil [9, pp. 93; 107]. Above all, maquiladoras changed the Mexican border region immensely. Once under-populated and underdeveloped rural area, nowadays it consists of a long belt of about 3,000 assembly plants, employing almost one million Mexicans.

Among the post-NAFTA impacts were those felt by border towns on the American side of the border. Many businesses declined and people lost jobs as Mexicans nearly stopped crossing the border for shopping. Before NAFTA residents of Mexican border towns did their shopping on the other side of the border, in the US shops. Previously, some American consumer goods were unavailable in Mexico, others were very expensive in Mexico due to high trade duties. So, Mexicans entered with tourist visas and did the shopping in the stores of American border towns El Paso or San Diego. When necessary, Mexicans smuggled those items across the border. By the 1960-s there was a profitable industry in smuggling TV-s, radios and other consumer goods to Mexico. It was a routine practice. In the 1970-s light planes

loaded with TV sets, microwaves and small refrigerators made daily flights to small airstrips in Mexico. In 1978 alone, smugglers brought in 2,8 million dollars in TVs from Loredo, Texas, into Mexico. Among the most popular items over the years were stolen cars. According to one calculation, annually 1 million used cars crossed the border for sale in Mexico, many of which were stolen ones [5, p. 48].

US border town sales began to slide after NAFTA went into effect. Now Mexicans needn't go shopping to the other side of the border. They can buy identical American goods at home.

As for Americans, they love shopping on the other side of the border. Day trips are particular popular. No entry documents are needed, no customs search is conducted, no Mexican auto insurance is required. Most Texans visit Mexican border towns to buy liquor and cigarettes as vodkas and tequilas are cheaper there, cigarettes are twice as cheap. Non-Texans visiting the border towns are usually more interested in the works of Mexican artisans. Straw, leather and woolen goods, ceramics, household decorations and cotton dresses are popular items because nothing much like them exists in the United States [6].

The border region has lots of popular tourist destinations. Since the early XX-th century it has become infamous for vice tourism, which was based on differences in law. In the early XX-th century American authorities on local, state and federal levels passed laws which defined drinking, gambling, drug use and prostitution as "vices" and restricted access to them. Throughout the United States businesses that catered to these activities shut down or went underground. In the southwest vice migrated across the boundary line. Saloons, casinos and prostitutes relocated to Mexico, where legal climate was more permissive. The Mexican government just registered and taxed vice businesses while Americans completely outlawed them.

US Prohibition sparked border town tourism, from Tijuana on the Pacific Ocean to Matamoros on the Gulf of Mexico. Tourism jumped dramatically. For instance, the number of tourists crossing the border at just El Paso from July 1918 to July 1919 was 14,130. It increased dramatically to 418,735 in the following year [5, p. 58; 20, pp.150-151].

All Mexican border towns were boosted by Prohibition-era vice business. But Tijuana definitely stood out. Before Prohibition-era, in 1915, Tijuana was a small, dirty and dusty town of only 1,o0o residents. However, by the end of the 1920-s, Tijuana's population had skyrocketed to 8,383 residents. The town benefited from its proximity to Southern California and Hollywood. Tijuana's Casino de Agua Caliente was a magnet for celebrities. It offered a wide range of vice entertainment: gambling, bars, greyhound and horse races, golf, hot spring baths. Hollywood stars Clark Gable, Ch. Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and Marx brothers visited Agua Caliente. Other stars like Rita Hayworth performed there [20, p. 151]. American moral reformers described Tijuana as a "mecca of prostitutes, booze sellers, gamblers and other American vermin" [10, p. 227].

Prohibition era was important in formulating stereotypes about Mexican culture. The Mexican border region emerged from the decade as a "wide-open place where anything goes" [10, p. 227]. Interestingly enough, during Prohibition the bulk of rum-running came across the US-Canada border. Nevertheless, the national image of Canadians suffered little.

After the lifting of Prohibition in 1933, vice tourism in Mexican border towns declined. Another strong blow to vice business came when Mexican President Lasaro Cardenas banned gambling in 1935. Both factors pulled businesses back to the USA and kept Americans at home.

The decline of legal gambling in Mexico coincided with the rebirth of the US gambling economy on the American side of the border. The state law in Nevada allowed gambling in 1931. Soon Las Vegas, a desert city, grew to become the West Coast magnet for gamblers. Vegas eventually replaced Mexico as the Hollywood celebrity destination. The city has become a hub for international vice tourism. Many Hollywood films accurately depict Vegas as a "Sin City", a lawless frontier and morality-free zone.

As for another vice - drinking - developments in alcohol law caused various shifts in border crossings. In 1984 a federal law raised American drinking age to 21. Mexico's drinking age is 18. And even this age is rarely enforced. The difference in law quickly spurred weekend border town trips. American teens of 18 and even under 18 from nearby cities, particularly San Diego and Los Angeles, go for a drink at weekends. These weekend parties perhaps, exceed decadence during the Prohibition era. In the USA bars close by 2 a.m. In Mexican border towns alcohol flows, music plays and prostitutes welcome at all hours at night. Additional lure for American weekend tourists is easy access to drugs as in 2009 Mexico decriminalized personal amounts of drugs. With this youthful infusion, by the 1990-s more American tourists travelled to Tijuana than to Disneyland [5, p. 64].

The history of vice tourism demonstrates that difference in law in neighboring Mexico and the USA boosted border crossings and the development of border towns on both sides. Due to a number of factors, including more permissive legislation in Mexico, Mexican border towns have acquired a strongly negative image. They are associated with tequila, sex and marijuana.

Mexican-American border is notoriously known for many illegal activities. During the Prohibition years Mexicans smuggled alcohol to the north. Today's trafficking includes two new "goods": people and drugs.

Mexican criminal gangs smuggle across the border people who cannot enter the USA legally. It is well-organised crime. The gangs have developed different illegal facilities for border crossing: special guides, secret gathering points, transport and logistics services, etc. The newest feature in this business is juvenile traffic. Children are smuggled across the border without documents and parents. In 2014 alone the US border patrols stopped the trafficking of about 70,000 children [14, c. 185].

A large part of human trafficking is prostitution. Young Mexican women are "asked" to work in night clubs and brothels in the USA. This business is highly developed in Mexican border-states, in which disappearing and killing of females have become common. In 2012 "white slave" trade brought Mexican criminals about 10 billion dollars [14, c. 186].

Trafficking in drugs to the north is also profitable business. Mexico's climate allows it to grow both cannabis (marijuana) and opium. The latest trend is the production of synthetic drugs. Mexico is also an important transit terri—tory for cocaine from South American countries. Due to these favorable factors Mexican drug cartels prosper [1, c. 33].

Cross-border criminal collaboration turns out mutually beneficial. Mexican gangsters supply the demand for drugs in the USA. Americans gangsters supply the demand for firearms in Mexico. From the other side of the border, Mexico receives large stocks of the US weapons, which are used in wars between criminal gangs.

One of the most long-standing problems related to the US-Mexican border is illegal immigration. Just to illustrate the scale of the problem: the number of illegal border crossings has skyrocketed in the past decades. From the 1980s to the mid-2000s, between 1 million and 1.6 million people were detained at the border every year. In 2000 alone, border patrols detained 71,000-220,000 migrants each month.

Illegal immigration has become a major concern for the US government since 1980-s. It had to deal with two problems: how to curb illegal immigration and what to do with 4 million migrants staying illegally in the USA at that time?

In 1985 President Ronald Reagan signaled a significant shift in US policy. In his speech he described illegal immigration as an "invasion," and immigration as a matter of national security. The next year (1986), Congress passed the Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA) [12]. It was the first large scale reform of American immigration policy. Before 1986 there was no legislation addressing illegal immigration.

The aim of the 1986 law was to reduce the flow of illegal immigrants to the USA. The law allocated new resources to the Border Patrol to tighten border security and, for the first time in American history, authorized fines against employers who hired illegal workers. As for illegal immigrants, the law granted permanent legal status, or "amnesty" to 2.8 million unauthorized immigrants who had been in the country continuously since January 1, 1982.

The Clinton administration passes a new immigration bill in 1996 (IIRIRA) [11]. It's the last major immigration law. The bill made deportation of illegal immigrants easier, citizenship harder and border security tighter.

The immigration laws of 1986 and 1996 failed to stop the flow of illegal immigrants. Moreover, their number had doubled, from 4 million in 1986 to 8 million in 2002.

President Bush called for a complete overhaul of the immigration policy. Bush proposed a guest worker program. Illegal immigrants were offered the possibility of becoming legal by registering as temporary

workers. But Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 failed in Congress [8]. Not only Democrats but also the majority of Republicans - President Bush's own party - voted against. Instead the Congress focused on strengthening the border.

President Obama's immigration project was similar to those of his predecessors. Like President Bush Obama met strong opposition of the Republican-controlled Congress. The 2013 "Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act" died in Congress [7].

Republicans demanded flooding the border with troops and technology to seal it tighter than ever. While visiting the border in El Paso in 2011, Obama noted that the Republicans, the opponents of the reform, were not satisfied. "Maybe they will need a moat," he joked. "Maybe they will want alligators in the moat." [17; 18].

So, there have been two approaches towards illegal immigration problem: to create legal channels for migrant workers through immigration reform and to strengthen the border. So far, attempts of the US administrations to carry out immigration reform have been unsuccessful. Now, let's take a look at how successful the policy of tightening the border was.

The US government has taken numerous unilateral measures to "secure" its border. In 1994, the first National Border Patrol Strategic Plan was developed. It signified the start of militarization of the border. Lots of money has been put into strengthening the border, particularly into technology. Doughy blimps with thermal imaging for nighttime provide video surveillance. Seismic sensors spot migrants with their first movements on American territory. Money is not spared on anything: from all-terrain vehicles to helicopters and advanced reconnaissance drones. The number of Border Patrol agents has been raised from 5,000 officers (in 1992) to 9,000 (in 2001) and to over 20,000 today.

That gives the Border Patrol much better opportunities of fighting criminal smuggling networks. Gangsters nowadays keep up with the latest technologies. They use Facebook to hire drivers. They use satellite phones and encrypted communication apps to direct drivers, night-vision technology to monitor patrols, and advanced tracking devices to scan for moving vehicles [25].

A major element of the border security is the wall. Congress first mandated the construction of a border fence in 1996 as part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA). IIRIRA called for the construction of a 14-mile long fence, along the boundary between San Diego and Tijuana. Currently, fencing covers 653 discontinuous miles of the 1,954-mile border. The wall is relatively new - nearly 90 % of it was built in the past 13 years.

How successful were tough measures on the border?

To begin with, the policy backfired. It has given rise to an underworld of smuggling, document fraud, and other criminal activity. To make the difficult crossing through unfamiliar territory, migrants have been forced to hire the services of smuggling networks or of individual guides known as "coyotes". Fees that

coyotes charge also increased. Earlier, in the 1990-s, Mexicans paid $500 - $1,500 to cross the border. Nowadays they pay up to $9,200 for the same crossing. Those figures have continued to rise [25].

As crossing the border has become more expensive and risky, Mexican migrants, once in the United States, remain longer to pay the higher cost of the journey. Before passage of the IRCA in 1986, the median stay of Mexican migrants in the United States was 2.6 years. After the border crackdown of the Clinton years, the median stay had risen to 6.6 years.

The fact that the crackdown on illegal immigration have failed is illustrated by statistics. The US unauthorized immigrant population peaked in 2007 at 12.2 million. In the peak year illegal immigrant population made up 4 % of the US population of nearly 316 million [23]. The illegal immigrant population declined for the next two years (2007-2009) during the recession. Then it has stabilized, since the end of the Great Recession in 2009 at 11 million.

The majority of undocumented immigrants are from Mexico. There was a peak of nearly 7 million illegal immigrants from Mexico in 2007. That made up 59% of the whole number of undocumented immigrants in the US. Then the number slightly decreased [19]. Now there are about 5.6-6 million illegal immigrants from Mexico [15].

As for the latest developments at the border, the centerpiece of President Donald Trump's immigration plan is the construction of an "impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall." The wall is planned to be 1,000 miles long and 55 feet tall. But the project faces financial and environmental obstacles.

A serious problem is the impact of fencing and other security measures on the wildlife. The border area is inhabited by jaguars, ocelots, Mexican wolves and raccoons. In key locations of the existing wall fencing seriously hampers the movement of predators and migratory animals, which is a serious threat to survival.

In 2018 the journal Bioscience published a paper documenting the ecological harms of the fence over the past decade, and the further damage that would be incurred by Trump's proposed wall [16]. 2,700 scientists from 47 countries co-signed the paper in a special letter opposing the border wall [13]. "The wall is an ecological disaster", they say. The border barriers threaten the health of 1,5000 species of plants and animals, including 62 endangered or vulnerable species.

Funding of the new wall is another obstacle for the construction. President Trump asserts the construction for 18 billion dollars. Congress contributed only $1,6 billion to the project in the fiscal year of 2018 [25]. In the fiscal year of 2019 the President requires Congress to allocate 5,6 billion dollars, but the bill is unlikely to pass the Senate [22].

To conclude, the US-Mexico border has a long and complicated history. Over two centuries it has been the scene of conflict as international borders are likely to be. Many problems have complicated the relations between the two countries, making life diffi-

cult for the borderland residents. For the US people the border seems troublesome. An American author W. Langewiesche wrote in The Atlantic in 1992: the US "would have preferred to have a second Canada on our southern flank" [4]. There are similar sentiments on the Mexican side of the border: "Poor Mexico! So far from God and so close to the United States!" The saying is attributed to Porfirio Diaz, Mexican President.

There is a great deal of truth in the phrase. Proximity to the United States cost Mexico half of its national territory in the XIX-th century. It also exposed

Mexico to various military and economic incursions in the XX-th century.

But U.S.-Mexican relations have also had their benefits. On multiple occasions the people of both countries have demonstrated that they can work together for the betterment of both. Moving forward, the question is whether the United States and Mexico will be able to face their shared challenges - economic development, immigration, and drug trafficing - by finding cooperative solutions. Mexico will always be "so close to the United States," but that need not always be such a bad thing for either country.

Источники и литература \ References

1. Гришина А. Е. Американская стратегия борьбы с наркотрафиком из Мексики // Актуальные проблемы современных международных отношений. 2017. №10. C. 33-40.

Grishina A. E. Amerikanskaya strategiya bor'by s narkotrafikom iz Meksiki (American Strategy of the Fight Against Drug Trafficking from Mexico) // Aktual'nye problemy sovremennykh mezhdunarodnykh otnoshenii. 2017. No. 10. P.33-40. (In Russian).

2. Agreement between the United States of America and the United Mexican States on cooperation for the protection and improvement of the environment in the border area. Signed at La Paz. August 14, 1983. URL: https://www.epa.gov/sites/ production/files/2015 09/documents/lapazagreement.pdf (Accessed: 12.12.2018).

3. Alvarez C. J. The United States-Mexico Border. Online publication. Date: Mar., 2017. URL:http://americanhistory. oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199329175.001.0001/acrefore-9780199329175-e-384 (Accessed: 20.07.2018).

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11. Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. URL: https://www.congress.gov/104/crpt/hrpt828/ CRPT-104hrpt828.pdf (Accessed: 10.07.2018).

12. Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 URL: https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/history/50th/thelaw/irca.cfm (Accessed: 12.07.2018).

13. Livni E. The US-Mexico border barriers threaten 1,500 plant and animal species // Political Science. July 24, 2018. URL: https://qz.com/1334546/the-us-mexico-border-barriers-threatens-1500-plant-and-animal-species/ (Accessed: 4.01. 2019).

14. Martynov B.F., Moloeznik M.P. Mexico on a criminal traffic scenario \\ Вестник МГИМО-Университета. 2017. 2(53). C.184-194.

15. More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to the U.S. \ Pew Research Centre. Nov. 19, 2015. URL: http://www.pewhispanic. org/2015/11/19/more-mexicans-leaving-than-coming-to-the-u-s/ (Accessed: 10.07.2018).

16. Nature Divided, Scientists United: U.S.-Mexico Border Wall Threatens Biodiversity and Binational Conservation URL: https://defenders.org/publications/peters-et-al-in-press-bioscience.pdf (Accessed: 4.01.2019).

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19. Rise in U. S. Immigrants From El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras Outpaces Growth From Elsewhere \ Pew Research Centre. Dec.7, 2017 URL: http://www.pewhispanic.org/2017/12/07/rise-in-u-s-immigrants-from-el-salvador guatemala-and-honduras-outpaces-growth-from-elsewhere/ (Accessed: 10.07.2018).

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Сведения об авторе

Пантюхина Татьяна Викторовна - кандидат исторических наук, доцент кафедры зарубежной истории, политологии и международных отношений гуманитарного института Северо-Кавказского федерального университета (Ставрополь) / pantyukhina@rambler.ru

Information about the author

Pantyukhina Tat'yana - PhD in Historical Sciences, Associate Professor, Chair of Foreign History, Political Science and International Relations, North Caucasus Federal University (Stavropol) / pantyukhina@ rambler.ru

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