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The U.S.-Mexican border exists in order to control the flow of people and commodities. To exemplify, approximately 300,000 Mexican workers lawfully cross the border daily or weekly as they go to work. It also supplies transportation infrastructure to ease trade engrossed by the United States and Mexico, which has over-doubled since the reinforcement of North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994. The U.S.-Mexican border has a length of 1,933 miles and is to a degree characterized by the Rio Grande River. The U.S.-Mexican border which was constructed by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo at the War of North American Invasion acts as both a connection and a barrier between two nations that employ diverse political systems, economic systems, and cultural values. It is also loosely identified as a geographic space that normally denotes an area of historic, cultural, and more lately, economic and practical overlap across the two-thousand-mile international political boundary. Since its creation in 1848 until now, this border has parted the United States, also known as the land of abundance, from Mexico and Latin American, the land of want. It comprises of two political units that share a distinct ecological home. The U.S. Mexican border’s region encompasses four states on the U.S. side (Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, and California) and six Mexican States (Baja, California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas). Approximately between 60 and 70 million people of the four U.S. and six Mexican states join at the border.
The U.S.-Mexico border is featured by migration and is regarded as a place for better opportunities. Nevertheless, due to the migration, other issues that have cropped up include lack of access to health care services, rise in violence, environmental pollution, and conflicting ways to deliver health services given that the border is both rural and urban. Due to the industrialization of the border, it is weighed down by industrial emissions and agricultural runoff, which has an effect on the air, water, plant, animal life, and human life. The application of harmful substances directly affects workers, bordering neighbors, and communities that share contaminated air and water resources, often with catastrophic consequences. Increased urbanization and population growth with unsatisfactory regulatory controls have generated various negative transborder environmental impacts and as a result have affected Mexican and U.S border twin cities. Moreover, the border is port of entry for a broad variety of communicable diseases and thus creates a demand for health services that cannot be quantified owing to the lack of reliable information. Since 1848, national borders differences have existed, particularly in the economic and cultural spheres. After the formation of the border, problems of policing, migration, and economic integration have become other issues facing the border. Health issues, drug trafficking, unauthorized immigration, drug-related violence, and arms trafficking from the U.S. have emerged as a pressing problem in the border region. Gangs engaged in the trade and its related service industries routinely cross the border to engage in illegal activities and to flee from detection and prosecution. Clashes, conflicts, and disagreements have emerged out of the interaction between the Mexicans and Americans. On both sides of the border, there is the obligatory mutual dependence of neighbors; on the other hand, esteem and friendship have been coupled with dislike and racism to generate a love-hate relationship.
In order to solve the problems facing the U.S.-Mexican, the government should take immediate measures to address various concerns. Currently, the U.S. has found the need of investing in order to protect the environment and community health in the U.S. Mexican border region. For instance, in 2001, the union of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Mexican agencies came up with methods to enhance environmental planning in the region. Consequently, these two agencies formed the Border 2012 program that is focused to lessen water and land contamination and air pollution and tackle other environmental concerns in the region. Furthermore, as an element of the Border 2012 program, the Centers for Disease Control’s Environmental Hazards and Health Effects Program has been dedicated and determined in dealing with environmental-health activities along the U.S.-Mexican border. Hence, in order to cut pollution and other environmental hazards, the United States should be informed of the importance of investing in Mexico to control and curb such issues. With regards to these, enhancing border controls, challenges the two countries efforts to protect the environment as well as the public health. Hence, the United States should expand its efforts of investing in and controlling the expansion of the Mexican border region in the interest of protecting its own environment and public health. To address substance abuse across the border, the development of substance abuse programs should take a comprehensive approach by taking into consideration substance abuse prevention and treatment programs, law enforcement, mental health, and health care programs. Through such measures, economic cost will be lessened and will generate a positive social impact on the border communities. Besides, both governments should work towards the development of bilingual and bicultural health programs, promotion of community and migrant health centers, primary health care services facilities, and decentralization of health care services from inner-city to countryside undeserved regions.
The U.S.-Mexican border has been protected in several ways. Previously, in the 1990s, the U.S. had posted the National Guard at the border in order to control the entry of drugs and migrants. Attempts to secure the border led to the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border with armed services troops, the National Guard, and enforcement of military technologies. Due to several complaints, the U.S. antidrug efforts were removed, although the National Guard is still employed in support roles for the immigration and customs authorities next to the southern border. Currently, a number of Border Patrol officers are dispersed to line-watch duty at the geographical boundary so as to prevent migrants from trying to cross. In 2009, with the approval of the Secure Fence Act of 2006, 613 miles of border wall and fence have been created along the border for protection purposes. The Border 2012 Program has taken immediate measures to protect the U.S.-Mexican border by addressing six issues which include, land pollution, chemical exposures, environmental health, water, air, and overall environmental performance. Various institutions such as NADB (North American Development Bank) and BECC (Border Environment Cooperation Commission) were established with the aim of working jointly to grant access to funding and to access probable solutions to border environmental issues. The two governments have worked towards enhancing free trade through NAFTA. As a result, they have grouped issues on the bilateral agenda in order that difference of opinions over illegal immigration or drug trafficking do not spread out into trade or environmental issues. To enhance protection along the Mexican border, it is appropriate for Mexico to finance some of the relevant costs. Given the huge effort needed to improve security along the border, the United States must direct its homeland security efforts with those of Mexico.
The U.S –Mexican border has not only grown to be the fastest-growing region in Mexico, but also has generated immense urban and environmental problems. It is important to note that even though the issues and possible answers to prevent and/or control the problems are related on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, the approaches that each country may employ may be utterly different, mainly due to the differences in resources and perceptions in socioeconomic and cultural values. In order to address the issues facing the border, both sides should aim towards coordination, cooperation, comprehensive vision, notification, good neighbor principle, and joint investment.