Conflict & Justice

Tourists experience illegal crossing

The U.S. border is actually 400 miles away from this Mexican town. As the sun sets, Mexicans and tourists run and hide along this 6 mile stretch. They're guided by villagers playing the role of smugglers. This smuggler tells a group of 18 to get down to avoid other locals playing the border agents. The participants play $25 dollars to get a grueling experience which provides some insight into what it's like to cross the border. Another guide says we're doing this to encourage you to go but only to understand that this is happening. As the ersatz agents close in, the participants reflect on what they're feeling and doing. This woman is a dual citizen who spends a lot of time in the U.S. He says this kind of exercise makes the impact of the statistics be felt. This university student says the experience has made her frustrated with her government. Just as the group is about to cross a river, a symbolic Rio Grande, a man posing as a border agent finds them and arrests them. The group is taken away for questioning. Mexican media reports have criticized the business, calling it a practice which makes money off an illegal act. Villagers point out that one night here can give a taste of what can be a week long act of trying to illegally cross the border. They also say they want their government to stay true to their pledge of being committed to helping Mexicans find jobs and stay in Mexico.

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