"This is an imaginary land"
May 21, 2009 7:27 PM   Subscribe

Border Stories is a series of short documentaries about life on the US-Mexican border, none longer than 6 minutes. The subjects are: drug addicts on the border (warning: graphic images), electronic music group Nortec Collective, hospital costs of fence jumpers, lonesome Minuteman, Mexican emigrant safety patrolman, ranchowners whose land is an immigration throughway, US-raised 18 year-old sent back to Mexico, virtual vigilantes, two old men provide water in the desert, dangers of journalism in Ciudad Juarez, graveyard of US tires in Mexico, drug ballads, hardened border policy hurts cross-border community, another cross-border community fears closing of footbridge, working illegally in Laredo, mayors of the two Laredos, migrants' safe house, hand-pulled ferry, dentistry in Nuevo Progreso, Brownsville high school teacher protests border fence, golf course with the border on three sides & fishermen on the mouth of the Rio Bravo. Border Stories also has a blog about immigration issues.
posted by Kattullus (18 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite

 
The quote in the title comes from the short film about the lonesome Minuteman.
posted by Kattullus at 7:27 PM on May 21, 2009


the most interesting thing I read on the drug gangs and killings was in the current issue of Harpers. There the writer managed to interview a former hit man, who worked for the police and tells us that there is a very strong connection between the police and the drug and kidnapping gangs.
posted by Postroad at 7:46 PM on May 21, 2009


The videos have really high production values.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 7:53 PM on May 21, 2009


I've seen two of these so far, (the old guys w/ the water and the minuteman) and I'm really digging them. Smart, compassionate, and not pedantic. Thanks for the links!
posted by Gilbert at 8:47 PM on May 21, 2009


My cousin works with the water distributers. One problem he has is that the minutemen constantly shoot their water barrels. No matter how you feel about illegal immigration, that is just plain evil.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:07 PM on May 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


Very interesting. From the other side of the northern border, it's hard to get a sense of the reality that people live with on the US/Mexico border.

By the way, he says "imaginary line".
posted by sneebler at 9:09 PM on May 21, 2009


Thank you for this. The videos and the site are really nicely done. I will be exploring this site for a while. As somebody who lived in Tucson for years and spent many trips exploring both sides of the border areas in Arizona and Sonora, I find the videos I have watched so far to be beautiful, sad, and nostalgic. Thanks.
posted by chupacabra at 9:30 PM on May 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I used to live in Tijuana and have done work at Casa Del Migrante (the migrant's safe house video--the video is of Nuevo Laredo though). I was there right before Christmas and someone asked me, in Spanish, where I was from. I said Chicago. Then from behind the group, a guys says in English "Oh yeah, what part of the city?". I tell him and it turns out he lives about 4 blocks from where I grew up. As we talk, I find out that he doesn't have documents. Has lived in Chicago for 18 years. Crossed back into Mexico to be with his sick mother. As we talk, I notice that he has a bandage on his neck. I ask him if he is alright. He pulls the tape and slides the gauze back to reveal several cuts on his neck. He was trying to cross back into America and was jumped by someone who preys on migrants crossing. The guy tried to kill him but the knife was too dull to cut his throat. He lost his money and now needed to figure out a new way home. It blew my mind.

Whenever I hear the political blowhards talking about immigration I think about what that guy risked to live/work in America.
posted by zerobyproxy at 10:05 PM on May 21, 2009 [4 favorites]


The blog Border Reporter is a good read about the happenings around the border area. It's written by a reporter who used to work for the paper I work at. He gets pretty in depth about the drug wars around the area.
posted by azpenguin at 11:01 PM on May 21, 2009


zerobyproxy, the "18 year old" link is similar if not as dramatic.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:28 AM on May 22, 2009


sneebler: By the way, he says "imaginary line".

So he does! Damn my ears!

Heh, and I like that version possibly even better...
posted by Kattullus at 3:30 AM on May 22, 2009


These are really well done. I was pleasantly surprised to see this looks like an independent project, not something backed by the NYT or NPR.
posted by bardic at 3:32 AM on May 22, 2009


Fantastic post, K.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:07 AM on May 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is great stuff. ¡Mil gracias!

I saw an interesting documentary a while back called Wetback: The Undocumented Documentary. It followed immigrants from Central America up through Mexico and into the US. Or some of them. What it touched on was how many immigrants felt that getting through Mexico that was hard. There are gangs which rob the immigrants, there's crooked immigration officials, and there are freight trains people try to get on but they will often fail and loose limbs or die.
posted by birdherder at 4:25 AM on May 22, 2009


Fantastic. Thanks Katullus.

I watched the "US raised 18 year old.." one and the comments are something else.

I was born in the US but the citizenship of most of my family ultimately derives from my paternal grandmother who just happened to be born in California when her family came up to the US for a while to work on a farm. They then moved back to Mexico. This was during the Depression. The border was more porous back then and people just sort of migrated back and forth. But that simple almost incidental fact - the place of her birth - is what allowed her to return to the US in the 60's and bring over her entire family.

In the case of the 18-yr olds who spend their entire life here and then are shipped to a land that was never theirs - the injustice is obvious. Even if you feel that their mother committed a crime, the justice system generally doesn't punish children for what their parents did. We've always had multiple paths to citizenship, not just birth but also residency and commitment.
posted by vacapinta at 6:40 AM on May 22, 2009


Thanks! I'll be digging through these for a while. I was happy to see some of the Nortec Collective featured, as I've been fascinated by them for a few years now, though I think their peak was a while back. The group is now fragmented, but each artist is still up to something interesting. If anything, it's interesting to know they all started from a common sound and diverged from there.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:50 AM on May 22, 2009


Excellent stuff. Thanks for the link.

(Justmy2c, but too many links in the main post. I think a lot of people who would appreciate the videos will skip the post because of the mass linkage.)
posted by mrgrimm at 10:15 AM on May 22, 2009


Stellar, this is such a wonderful site, so well done. Great find, thanks for posting, Kattullus.
posted by madamjujujive at 4:55 PM on May 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


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