Each year, hundreds of thousands risk their lives to illegally cross over the 3,145 km southern border with the United States and Mexico in hope of a better life.
While Presidential administrations change and political control of Congress sways, conditions along the border remain the same. They are dangerous and unpredictable. 2021 was a unique year along the border. Even though the border was closed due to COVID-19, 2021 saw the highest recorded numbers of migrants crossing, almost 2 million. Some migrants come at night by boat, some over, around or through the border wall, but merely crossing that line isn’t the end of their journey.
Their journey continues beyond the border through private ranches heading north, occasionally turning deadly in a 100 degree desolate and unforgiving landscape. At one point, in about three days over 13,000 Haitian migrants crossed from Ciudad Acuna, Mexico into Del Rio, Texas. One of the largest groups to ever come across. While it is represented as a line on a map, the border is actually much more complex. It’s a living, breathing, thriving place, with communities on both sides. And of those who cross, many are seeking what they believe to be a better life and a myriad of opportunities. Human smugglers prey on those who cross, crime organizations profit through moving both people and drugs. And sadly, people die.