Travelling the Great Divide - The New US-Mexico Border
The US - Mexico border, once a romantic backwater, is now seen by many as a low grade war zone and the most perilous frontier on earth. This 2000 mile divide, running through remote and dangerous terrain, is the setting for one of the world's biggest modern migrations. Some 12 million Mexican-born people now live in America, many of them illegally, and the number is set to rise significantly.
As illegal immigrants and drugs pour north, guns and money are smuggled south. The American government is busy fortifying the border - with walls and fences backed by watch towers, video surveillance, unmanned drones, and a growing army of border guards.
Claudine LoMonaco takes a trip along the border to examine how life and culture is changing. She describes how the twinned border towns have been transformed by the militarisation of the region. Some of these Mexican cities have not only exploded in size but have also seen an extraordinary rise in murder, violence, kidnapping and extortion as the Mexican army wages war on the drug cartels. She travels with the border patrol in search of the traditional desert crossings.
The programme observes the wall in its fully fortified might as it divides the cities of Tijuana and San Diego, and finds it again in the middle of an Indian Reservation cutting the traditional desert tribal lands in half. What role has this border played in the American imagination and how does it play out in the cultures on both sides?
Claudine reports on how this multi-million dollar divide has changed the habits and fortunes of the illegal migrants. Why do so many continue to risk death and terrible injury in the American wilderness?
Producer - Anthony Denselow