I have covered the stress, difficulties, and tensions people experience on the US/Mexican border. Unfortunately, in recent weeks it appears those tensions have escalated.
On the 20th of September, protestors and water defenders belonging to the Tohono O'odham Nation clashed with US Border officials about the construction of a border wall through land sacred to the O'odham people. Despite searing 109 degree Arizona heat and repeated demands by US Border Patrol agents, the protestors remained.
Eventually, the shoving and pushing started as people were thrown to the ground, at one point paintball guns and tasers were raised at protesters in order to disperse them, some carried live firearms, but thankfully they were not used.
This wasn’t the only such clash on the border, in fact, two days later, the same thing members of the Kumeyaay Nation clashed with US Border Patrol agents near Campo, California. The area the demonstration took place has been under military control since last year and has often been the site of tensions between supporters of the US border wall and its protestors.
Incidents have occurred on the Mexican side of the border too. In early September, a clash between the Mexican national guard and protestors in Chihuahua led to two deaths following a dispute regarding water being diverted to the United States.
Similar protests have occurred at the dam before, such as in March when protestors overturned cars and blocked roads.
This is in addition to cartel violence by the US border which has been occurring sporadically for many years now.
Although these skirmishes are not directly related to the refugee and migrant situation on the border. It nonetheless serves as an example of the immense pressure those trying to live on or cross the border face. Indeed, criminal gangs often prey on migrants and asylum seekers, with rape, kidnappings, violence, and extortion is often reported.
Of course, as with everywhere, refugees and migrants have to contend with the ever-present threat of COVID-19, which has had a devastating impact in Mexico, with nearly 90,000 deaths reported across the country.
Violence is not limited to the US border either, along Mexico’s border with Guatemala, members of a 1,000 strong migrant caravan pushed past Mexican border guards, with many migrants being detained.
Sadly, it is improbable that these tensions or clashes will stop any time soon, not until the tough and unfair border policies are lightened. But, until then, One Digital World will work with migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers on the border to develop skills they need in order to succeed once they resettle.
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