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(March 15–21, 2006)

Alex Balako

Geographical Border, and Border Through Time - Events and Places Separating Nations

G. Donald Bain

Building the Border Fence

Mexico-U.S. Border, east of San Luis Colorado, Sonora, Mexico

March 20, 2006 12:32 pm MST

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© 2006 G. Donald Bain, All Rights Reserved.

The border between the United States and Mexico is one of the longest in the world - 1951 miles (3141 km). Most of it runs through the deserts of the southwest.

Traffic across the border is heavy, with over 350 million legal crossings each year. But many others cross the border unofficially - estimates range from 350,000 to over one million per year. The largest number are Mexican, followed by Central Americans, and most are seeking employment in the north. Many are intercepted by the Border Patrol and repatriated, but some 7 to 10 million "undocumented aliens" are estimated to live in the US.

In urban areas the border has been strengthened with a fence, a moat, surveillance systems, and increased patrols. This has had the effect of redirecting surreptitious immigrants to remote areas, where groups enter the US on foot and travel miles through the desert at night. They are often unprepared for the heat, cold, and exertion needed to reach safety beyond the border zone, and several hundred every year die in the attempt. In addition to the large numbers of undocumented workers the border has a small number of heavily armed and mechanized drug smugglers.

In 2005/06 Congress authorized construction of a barrier along the non-urban stretches of the border. It consists of steel posts connected by horizontal cables, and is designed to prevent crossing by vehicles - people can easily climb over.

To take this panorama I drove along the south side of the border from San Luis Colorado to Sonoyta in the Mexican state of Sonora, about 200 miles on Federal Highway 2 (Ruta Dos). Just outside of San Luis I encountered the construction crew. Further east I photographed one of the original boundary survey markers, on a stretch where not even a cattle fence marks the border.
Over 5000 panoramas of western North America at Don Bain's Virtual Guidebooks.
Photographed with an Olympus E-500 camera with a 14-54mm lens at 14mm (28mm equivalent), mounted on a Kaidan QuickPan III, Velbon tripod and Acratech ball head. Stitched with QuickTime VR Authoring Studio, post-processing with Adobe Photoshop CS.

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