Border Patrol Turns to Foreign Media to Discourage Unauthorized Border Crossings

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The federal government is turning to Mexican and Central American media outlets to warn potential migrants of the dangers of trying to enter the U.S. illegally, the Los Angeles Times reports.

According to the newspaper, U.S. Border Patrol agents last year started providing foreign radio and television stations, as well as newspapers, with accounts of mistreatment, assault, rape, and deceit experienced by migrants while traveling to the U.S., and in safe houses upon their arrival. The tactic is one of dozens — including drones, walls, motion sensors, and strict enforcement policies — intended to discourage would-be unauthorized border crossers from attempting the trek.

The outreach appears to have met moderate success. Outlets in the Mexican states of Chiapas and Michoacán, as well as Guatemala and El Salvador, have run stories, in some cases using photos provided by Border Patrol. The agency has also expanded its efforts to U.S. cities with large immigrant communities in hopes that they will spread the message to family members back home.

Since 2004, Border Patrol anonymously spent more than $1 million on a separate campaign — called No Más Cruces — that disseminated musical corridos, mini-documentaries and public service announcements depicting tragedies at the border, according to the Times.

It is unclear what effect the campaigns have had on migrants, but apprehensions at the border decreased from 1.6 million in 2000 to 340,000 last year, a drop many experts attribute to fewer crossing attempts.

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