What’s a border? Often imagined as a geographical line separating countries and regions around the world, actual borders are much more complex environments. Billed as “an international video series exploring the human impact of lines on a map,” Vox Borders is, in keeping with the site’s dedication to explanatory journalism, a stab at offering explanations of what “lines on a map” actually look like. In its first season, the show tackled Haiti-Dominican Republic, Japan-North Korea and even The Arctic. But its most timely one may be its episode on Mexico-Guatemala, which is subtitled “How the U.S. outsources border security.”
Hosted by video journalist Johnny Harris, these short videos run no more than 15 minutes and offer you the kind of punchy, graphics-heavy explainer you’ve come to expect from Vox. In the Mexico-Guatemala episode, Harris begins in the river that runs below one of the bridges that house the kind of immigration checkpoints we’re all too familiar with. But that doesn’t stop people on rafts from transporting people across the border into Mexico. That’s how Harris starts to trace the journey many Central Americans from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador take through the United States’ southern neighbor to reach the Rio Grande and cross into Texas.
Harris weaves both recent geopolitical history (you really can’t talk about this renewed urgent migration without discussing the violence currently ravaging those countries) with the failed promises made by Obama and Peña Nieto when it came to guaranteeing the safety of those afflicted by these conflicts. With plenty of graphs and maps as well as interviews with experts and migrants alike, Harris’ on the ground journalistic chronicle is eye-opening for the way it makes the messy politics feel digestible. Check out the full video below and feel infinitely more well-informed about the immigration crisis wreaking havoc all through Central America and impacting the US-Mexico border.