Two Views on Immigration

Since the introduction of the Secure Border Act of 2006, hundreds of miles of fence have been built by the federal government in sections along the nearly 2000-mile long border between the United States and Mexico. Costing tax payers nearly $3 billion, sections of fence in California cost up to $21 million a mile to erect. The construction of the fence pushes migrants to seek increasingly perilous routes through the arid and inhospitable desert regions of the Southwest border. The fence is largely ineffective and tremendously costly in both money and lives. 

Over the few couple months, the news has been inundated by a wave of illegal immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border from Central America. This immigration situation is unique due to the sheer magnitude of migrants, but also because these are unaccompanied minors. The country is struggling to find a solution to deal with this pressing humanitarian and political crisis, spawned by the aftermath of a 2002 law enacted by President George W. Bush to help protect minor sex trafficking victims. 

Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to work on two important projects that although don’t directly address the recent immigration crisis, do offer important and unique perspectives on the immigration debate facing our country. 

In May, I produced the introductory video to the New York Times’ project, The Way North. Over the course of 39 days, writer Damien Cave and photographer Todd Heisler traveled north from Laredo, Texas to Duluth, Minnesota along Interstate 35. A Southern Crossroads is a vignette about Hilario Martinez, the Director of Security at El Conejo bus terminal where hundreds of passengers enter the United States everyday en route to northern destinations. His work is deeply personal and valuable to the clients who look to El Conejo as a lifeline between the United States and Mexico. 

In July, in partnership with MSNBC, I produced and edited, The Fence,  a 3-part series that explores the political, economic, environmental, and humanitarian impact of the US-Mexico border fence. Photographer Charles Ommanney drove the nearly 2000 miles along the border from Brownsville, TX to San Diego, CA where he photographed and filmed the serpent-like fence, and gathered testimony from various US citizens about their experiences and opinions about the border fence. The footage is simultaneously spectacular and disturbing, and the stories are both haunting and infuriating. The Fence is a fresh look at the immigration debate, that forces you to question the efficacy of the militarization of our southern border.