Frontline World

MEXICO - A Death in the Desert, June 2004

Related Features THE STORY
Synopsis of "A Death in the Desert"

A Desperate Journey

In-depth Analysis

Background, Illlegal Migration, Immigration Reform

Immigration Legislation, Views on NAFTA




Links and Resources

• Migration Resources
• Immigration Reform Policy and Legislation
• Dying to Cross
• Background on Mexico
• North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

Migration Resources

The Migration Policy Institute
An independent Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) was founded in 2002 out of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace's Migration Policy program. In 2003, MPI launched, a Web-based repository of news and articles related to migration issues.

The Center for Immigration Research
The Center for Immigration Research, based at the University of Houston, studies immigration trends. Its Web site has links to various immigration reports, including "Deaths During Undocumented Migration: Trends and Policy Implications in the New Era of Homeland Security," which shows how the increase in rural crossing points is increasing the dangers to migrants.

Public Policy Institute of California
The Public Policy Institute of California, a private nonprofit organization founded in 1994, maintains an online repository of policy papers related to immigration. Its research encompasses such diverse topics as enforcement policy, immigrant youth and changing immigrant demographics in California.

Migration Dialogue
Migration Dialogue, a project based at the University of California at Davis, provides timely information about international migration issues. The "Rural Migration News" section summarizes important immigration developments and news affecting immigrant farmworkers.

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Immigration Reform Policy and Legislation

White House Fact Sheet on Immigration Reform
This report, published by the White House, summarizes proposed immigration reform policy. It provides an overview of President George W. Bush's deployment of National Guard units, his plans to increase spending on border security and a brief outline of his policies on a guest worker program.

Remarks by President George W. Bush on Immigration Reform
This official verbatim transcript of President Bush's speech about border security and immigration reform, delivered on June 6, 2006, also contains links to video broadcasts of the president's remarks.

NPR's "The Immigration Debate"
NPR provides an in-depth report on President Bush's current immigration reform plans. The site includes numerous articles and audio reports from both sides of the immigration debate.

Immigration Reform Bills in Congress
The National Conference of State Legislatures maintains a regularly updated list of immigration reform bills currently before Congress. Users can click on links to read an in-depth profile of each bill as well as a summary of its main points.

Guest Worker Programs
The U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration provides a complete description of current U.S. law surrounding guest workers. The site covers employer compliance and compensation for guest workers.

"The Battle Over Immigration"
The Washington Post provides this special report on the latest in immigration reform measures. This site features links to articles about the latest in immigration legislation; commentary; graphics of the distribution of U.S. Border Patrol agents along the southern U.S. border; and "Life Along ‘La Linea'," a photo essay of the U.S.-Mexican border.

"A Day Without Immigrants"
Held on May 2, 2006, A Day Without Immigrants was a nationwide protest and march organized to raise awareness of immigrant rights. provides this coverage of the various rallies across the country as well as a brief update on immigration legislation.

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Dying to Cross

"The Trail of Latino Migration"
This three-part series, reported by NPR's Gerry Hadden, looks at illegal migrants' passage into the United States: the economic conditions underlying their decision to enter the country; the personal dangers they face on their journey north through Mexico; and their final trek across the desert areas of the U.S.-Mexican border, where high temperatures often lead to death. These reports, which were produced in September and October 2003, are available in streaming audio format and feature an accompanying photo gallery.

Special Series: "Dangerous Border"
The San Francisco Chronicle's multipart series on illegal migration, published in May 2004, examines the increasingly perilous conditions that migrants face when making the illegal trek from Mexico into the United States, including blistering heat, treacherous landscapes, malicious bandits and unscrupulous smugglers. The series also explores the rash of immigration legislation has been introduced in Congress in the last year and reports that none of it has progressed because the issue is a "political hot potato."

"Migrant Bodies Crowd Border Morgues"
The Arizona Republic reports on the state of the morgues in Tucson, Arizona, one of the most popular, and deadliest, places for illegal border crossings. Published in June 2006, the article provides a current account of how morgues in that town handle the multitude of migrant bodies found in the area.

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Background on Mexico

CIA World Factbook: Mexico
The CIA World Factbook provides comprehensive, up-to-date information about Mexico, from a summary of its historical origins to a survey of its economic, political and demographic landscape.

BBC Country Profile: Mexico
The BBC's country profile on Mexico includes key facts about Mexico's history, its socioeconomic landscape, its political leadership and its major media.

The Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies
The Web site of the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, based at the University of California at San Diego, is a clearinghouse for news, publications and research related to United States-Mexico relations and border issues.

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North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) went into effect in 1994, with the promise of thousands of new jobs, invigorated trade in North America and the transforming of Mexico into a manufacturing powerhouse. But the results have been mixed, experts say. NAFTA has facilitated the free movement of capital and goods, tripling trade between Mexico, the United States and Canada. But it has also had a devastating effect on employment in Mexico, particularly within the agricultural sector because the flood of subsidized food imports from the United States has resulted in plummeting prices. As a result, millions of Mexican farmworkers are now unemployed -- and record numbers of migrants are crossing the border into the United States to seek work.

Read more about the pros and cons of NAFTA:

North American Free Trade Agreement
This Web site, maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides a broad overview of the North American Free Trade Agreement, a trade agreement between Mexico, the United States and Canada that was signed in 1994. Included are fact sheets about the agreement, with an overview of its history.

The Western Hemispheric Trade Center
The Web site of Texas A&M's Western Hemispheric Trade Center, otherwise referred to as the NAFTA Center, is a clearinghouse for information on NAFTA. Of particular interest is the site's searchable database, which contains thousands of articles from academic journals and the popular press about NAFTA.

"The Broken Promise of NAFTA"
This critical assessment of NAFTA, published in The New York Times in January 2004, was written by Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate and professor of economics at Columbia University. Stiglitz offers a broad overview of NAFTA's past and present, concluding: "NAFTA enhanced Mexico's ability to supply American manufacturing firms with low-cost parts, but it did not make Mexico into an independently productive economy."

"Mexico: Was NAFTA Worth It?"
Business Week assesses the social, economic and political impact of NAFTA a decade after its inception. The article also features a series of links to other NAFTA-related features, including statistical information about NAFTA's effect on migration to the United States.

Public Citizen: NAFTA
Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, maintains an online archive of reports documenting NAFTA's negative impact on the environment, jobs and workers' rights. Its Web site also features a special series, "NAFTA at Ten," a critical appraisal of the trade agreement on its 10-year anniversary.

NAFTA and Illegal Migration to the United States
This online report, published by the Center for Western Hemispheric Trade at the University of Texas at Austin, explores the relationship between NAFTA and migration flows to the United States.

Mexico: NAFTA and Migration
This article, published by the Migration Dialogue project of the University of California at Davis, suggests that NAFTA has helped to increase trade revenue for Mexico, the United States and Canada, but has exacerbated poverty in Mexico and increased migration to the United States.

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