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L'Amexique au pied du mur

Report along the mexican-american border

About the project

> WHAT ?

We are two french journalists, Romain Houeix et Clément Brault. We will realise a series of reports along the 3 200 kms of the mexican-american border. We want to see the project of a "big, beautiful wall" wanted by Donald Trump. This careful exploration will be transcribed in a book.

> WHY ?

This area is our minds for many months. We eat up every article, film, book dealing with the subject. Our obsession is that big that we decided to go there and see by ourselves the situation to do a series of reports. Moreover, the mexican-american border isn't very covered in French medias, so far.

> WHEN ?

We'll land in the George Bush International Airport, Houston, Texas, in septembrer 18th. From there we'll be very close to the border. This timing is ideal because it will be the mid-terms period. At this moment, specifically, the wall's, border's, immigration's issues will be very relevant. We'll explore the border until november 22.


We'll explore the border from east to west, from Brownsville, Texas, to Tijuana, frome the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast. During these 67 days, we will visit many cities and locations to feed our reports.

Here are some of the road trip's key steps :

Brownsville : First step of the journey. Here, the wall already exists since 2006 and the Bush Administration. This construction is a bad memory for some of the Texans. The Wall has cut some recidencies in two parts whereas others have been let in a no man's land between the wall and the border itself.

McAllen : For a few weeks, McAllen has been in a medias' storm. Its detention center for children has attract the eyes of journalists, all around the world.Locked in cages, children are separated from their parents. Three months after the scandal, we will analyse the situation on the ground and see how the Donald Trump's "zero tolerance policy" works.

Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge : The ocelots, these big tigered cats, live in the Rio Grande Valley. Since the wall has been build, in the early 90's, the ocelots are trapped. The can't move as they want. Biologists are warning about the negative consequences of this situation on the ocelot, who could even disappear.

Laredo / Nuevo Laredo : If the free trade agreement between Mexico and the USA has a heart, it's Laredo et Nuevo Laredo. From either side of the Rio Grande, there is the first river port of America, which concentrate 40% of the exchanges between the two countries. The border checkpoint is one of the busiest in the world. The port of entry between the twin cities includes many drugs and migrants detection devices.

Cohahuila :  Grace Fernandez isn't giving up. Ten years after her brother's disappearance, she's still looking for him. This five children's father disapearred in december 2008, in the Cohahuila, a USA border state. One of the many victims of the "forced disappearences". Some evaluate to 34 000 the number of missing persons since 2006. With them, mothers, wives, sisters ... .

Monterrey : Often considered as the most american city in Mexico, Monterrey, Nuevo Léon, has a very big expatriates community. We'll meet them and talk to the mexican feeling about the amount of "gringo", in Monterrey.

Ciudad Juarez / El Paso : Probably the most important step of our journey. On one side, Juarez, also called "The Beast", and considered as one of the most violents towns in the world (700 homicides have been commited in 2017). On the other side, El Paso, the second safest town in the United-States. A typical southern city, where the life is good and calm, if you forget its proximity with "the hell". Throughout these twin cities history, the border's dichotomy appears. Maybe it is between Juarez and El Paso that the wall's real gap exists. 

Santa Teresa : This New Mexico little town is now known as the new border wall is about to be build. We'll take a look at this building site.

Sonoran desert : In the Sonora, there is no wall yet. So it is here that the immigrants try to reach the United States. But it is, above all, a terrible location, where heat, snakes and elevation cause many deaths. There, many citizens are trying to help the immigrants, giving them water and so on ... But, others citizens are trying to push them out of USA. We will meet the two kind of group to understant their motivations and aims.

Nogales : In Nogales, door of the desert, they are dozens waiting, before attempting to reach their dreams : the United States. They come from Honduras, Guatemala, south Mexico, ... The Sonora is the last obstacle before the American Dream.

What makes them trying so hard to enter in the USA ? Do they know what's waiting for us ?

Calexico / Mexicali : As their names indicates, these two cities embody the porosity between Califonia and mexico. This porosity is visible in the hugo farms, in this region. Most of the workers come from Mexico, crossing the border twice a time a day.

Tijuana/San Diego : Now that the marijuna is legal in California, the mexicans Cartels have lost their financial flow. Consumers do not need to search pot, and firms can, now, sell it. What are the consequences ? How money has changed hands ? What is the Cartels' reaction ?

San Francisco : Our journey's last step ! Since Donald Trump was elected, California embodie the resistance. And the capital city of this resistance could be San Francisco, and the Berkeley University may be its nerve center. To conclude our road-trip, we will meet the movements for wemen's rights and migrants' rights.

What are the funds for?

> HOW ?

We've chosen to explore the border region from east to west, on its totality. A road-trip that long demands a big amout of money in transports (car rentals, busses, airplain tickets to come from France) and hotels (even if it's not our style to go to an jacuzzy hotel).

For a region, three times bigger than France, the distances and costs are not similar, far from it. Just take a look by yourselves :

That's why WE NEED YOU ! Even a little participation can help us and give us a welcomed rest in the heat of California, Arizona, or Texas.

The objectif of 1 410€ is linked to the airplane cost from France. Aware that the time flies and that our budget is quite high, we can't demand more from you. But, if this crowsfunding has to be successfull, we will use the money carefully and in the goal of making our reports interesting.

If your can't help us but the project interests you, don't hesitate to share the page, show it to your friends and follow us on social medias. Thank you so much.

About the project owner


Clément Brault is a freelance journalist and a writer. He has worked with Ouest-France, La Croix and Le Monde. Since 2017, he's devoted to writing. He has already published L'Imposture présidentielle (2017) and Philosopher en courant (2018). As an avid reader of the work of Don Winslow, he wants to write on the mexican-american border.

Twitter : @clementbrault 

Romain Houeix is a freelance journalist, working mainly for France 24 on the latin-americans issues. He lived for one year in Chile and he has already been in Mexico in 2013. He has been very interested of this continent and its inhabitants since then.

Twitter : @RHoueix 

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