Beyond the Border

Beyond the Border is a joint project of Lawfare and the Mexico Security Initiative at the University of Texas at Austin's Strauss Center. The column focuses on the complex array of security challenges that have wracked Mexico in recent years, with occasional coverage of similar challenges in Central America. Its principal author is Stephanie Leutert, the inaugural Mexico Security Initiative Fellow. 

Latest in Beyond the Border

Beyond the Border

An Increasingly Difficult Migration Climate

It’s a sticky-hot Sunday night in Tenosique, Tabasco, and Josue is carefully massaging powder onto his feet. “Do your feet hurt?” he asks, catching my gaze and offering the bottle in my direction. Mine did not, but unlike Josue, I had not spent the previous two days walking 37 miles from the Mexico-Guatemala border and dodging the Mexican immigration authorities along the way.

Beyond the Border

Clearing Up Misconceptions on Cross-Border Migrant Smugglers: An Interview with Gabriella Sanchez

Since President Donald Trump took office on January 20th, unauthorized immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border have topped the national security agenda (at least until the chaos over General Flynn’s calls with the Russian ambassador knocked them off the front page). In his first days in office, Trump signed executive orders to build a full-length border wall and hire thousands of additional border patrol agents.

Beyond the Border

The Migrant Kidnapping Epidemic Next Door

It was six in the morning when Daniela got off the overnight bus in Nuevo Laredo in early August. She was traveling with her husband and four children, and they’d spent the last nine months slowly making their way through Mexico. Back in their home country of Honduras, armed men had been hunting them down as retaliation for a court case they’d filed against 18th Street gangsters. When they shot Daniela’s husband six times as he was driving home with the family’s groceries, the family headed north.

Beyond the Border

Fewer Drugs Doesn't Necessarily Mean Less Violence

A few weeks ago, the New York Times published an op-ed by Mario Berlanga, a recently graduated Stanford MBA student from Mexico, which chides Americans of all types—and especially those who “consider themselves worldly or social-justice oriented”—for snorting cocaine in bathrooms or lighting up a joint, and thus directly fueling the bloodshed across Mexico.

The Lawfare Podcast

The Lawfare Podcast: Stephanie Leutert on Violence in Mexico and Central America

Stephanie Leutert, the Mexico Security Initiative Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of Lawfare's "Beyond the Border" series, joined Benjamin Wittes on this week's podcast to talk about the epidemic of violence plaguing Mexico and Central America. Despite the brutality, extremity, and remarkable scale of the violence going on immediately to our south, those of us in the United States who work and think on national security issues rarely consider it to be relevant to national security. Why is that?

Beyond the Border

Interview: Preventing Gang Violence in Central America

This past year, Congress allocated $750 million to Central America for the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle, one of the many approaches for tackling the region’s security crisis and subsequent migration crisis. (You can read more about the U.S. policy response in this previous post.) This influx of money will be largely used to expand existing aid projects in Central America with a focus on improving security and economic conditions.

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