United States of America
With more immigration than any other country in the world, the United States is also the world leader in deportation. With its close economic, historical and cultural ties to Mexico, immigration between the two countries has resulted in contentious political battles for the better part of a century. For decades, immigration enforcement and removal were focused almost solely on Mexican nationals.
The hardening of the USA-Mexico border and the expansion of the United States Border Patrol have resulted in over ten thousand migrant deaths since the mid-1990s. The policy of Prevention through Deterrence began in El Paso in 1993, and had the expressed desire to push undocumented immigrants away from urban areas and into the harsh desert terrain. This did not decrease immigration from Mexico, it simply led to more deaths. Over time the immigration system has introduced new punishments for immigrants such as charges for illegal entry and illegal reentry (USC 1325 and 1326), increased detention and greater enforcement in the interior of the United States.
Additionally, since 2014 there have been major changes in the type of migration along the border. These include an increase in families and unaccompanied minors from Central America crossing in large numbers, and an increase in asylum applications as opposed to undocumented immigration. This shift has largely been driven by increased violence in Central America, but also by a rise in the availability of aid and legal representation. Despite the Trump administration’s efforts to end asylum through policies such as family separation, bans on individuals who travel through third countries and the highly controversial Migrant Protection Protocol (also called the Remain in Mexico program), 2019 saw almost a million asylum applicants along the southern border.
'Puente fronterizo en tiempos de caravanas' Image by Martha Victoria Ríos Infante