The “North-American Migrant Trail” extends for over 2300 miles, from Southern Mexico to the U.S.-Mexico Border. Under intense U.S. pressure to stem immigration from Central America, Mexico and the U.S. collaborate to crack down on the trail north, forcing migrants into more dangerous territory. Told against the backdrop of the North-American Migrant Trail, Border South weaves together migrant stories from different vantage points.
Jason, a Mexican/Filipino-American anthropologist and founder of the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP), collects the artifacts that migrants leave behind in the Arizona desert, preserving an important part of recent U.S. history before rain, sun, vultures and the U.S. border patrol erase their traces forever. Gustavo, a charismatic Nicaraguan migrant survives an attack by Mexican Federal Police while riding “la bestia,” the infamous train north, gains a humanitarian visa because of that incident and then loses it a year later when he moves to the cartel-infested border-town of Nuevo Laredo. Fragmented stories from undocumented Hondurans crossing through southern Mexico assemble a vivid portrait of the thousands of immigrants who disappear along the trail. Border South reveals the immigrants’ resilience, ingenuity, and humor as it exposes a global migration system that renders human beings invisible in life as well as death.