Chavez, Sergio (2011). Navigating the US-Mexico Border: The Crossing Strategies of Undocumented Workers in Tijuana, Mexico. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 34(8)
What strategies do undocumented workers employ to cross the US-Mexico border? And how does the implementation of border enforcement affect crossing strategies? Drawing on ethnographic research, I compare the border crossing patterns of undocumented and documented migrants in Tijuana who cross the border to work without authorization in the US. My findings suggest that, prior to border enforcement, crossers entered informally and without documentation. In some instances, these undocumented workers crossed the border alone or relied on local smugglers to avoid detection. In other instances, undocumented crossers gained entry by declaring their connections to US employers. Now, border enforcement has drastically reduced undocumented crossings through Tijuana. In this new era, the primary way to obtain undocumented work is by acquiring a Border Crossing Card that allows a migrant to cross (but not work) legally. This group of Mexican migrants are now authorized to cross the border but not to work in the US, and so it is imperative to conceal all evidence of their labours from port officials.
Ethnic and Racial Studies