Outline of Border Relations Between Mexico and the United States: The Tijuana Border With San Diego

Outline of Border Relations Between Mexico and the United States: The Tijuana Border With San Diego

Alejandro Monjaraz Sandoval (Autonomous University of Baja California, Tijuana, Mexico)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5205-6.ch008
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This chapter bases its premise on the fact that US foreign policy becomes a reality with certain areas of opportunity, dictated from the presidency, as it promotes unilateral policies focusing on migration from Mexico, securitization and militarization of the border, and the development of an economic strategy. Unfortunately, this defense of interests unilaterally has caused border states and municipalities to set their own objectives, development plans, and border and binational diplomacy and policy decisions and strategies.
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The Mexico and United States’ border symbolizes integration and exclusion; surveillance and anonymity; progress and regression. The activities that derive from binational interactions, are a matter of interest and importance. These are significant economically, politically and in trade. At the same time, the endeavors seek to fix an immigration problematic; establish security commonalities along the border, while sharing cultural traits that go back as far as the early 1800s. Their relations began through turmoil, but these have evolved and now, both nations have the difficult task of cooperating and managing the world’s most crossed border on a daily basis. To strengthen their interdependent relation, both governments need to closely examine the dynamics of cross-border relations, dynamics and happenings, meanwhile determining the role that this domain and the policies enacted in Mexico City and Washington District of Columbia play.

Said shared space, divided politically between the two countries is considered a homogeneous area, which houses the problems founded, mainly in the migration of Mexicans, and non-Mexicans from the South, as well as the low effectiveness of protection and patrolling of shared space, as limitations of United States trade growth. At the same time, the binational region also hosts a dependent relation that has the transborder population, who have lives on both sides of the border, stuck in the middle of it all. These are the people who are benefited or hurt by the lack of clarity in the cooperative discourse between federal governments which creates a difficult environment for all and make it difficult to establish a joint strategy without causing collateral damage to subnational governments. It is the state and local authorities who lead the efforts of cooperation and regional binational integration.

Considering the previous, this work seeks to analyze descriptively the various ways the Mexico-US border has established a transborder dynamic that works for those living in the Municipality of Tijuana and the County of San Diego, while at the same time, set political challenges for the federal governments. To do so, a qualitative methodological review consisting of descriptive research, content analysis and case study will establish the evidence to show how development in this border region can help mediate the relationship between Mexico and the United States.

The interactions make the border region a hybrid environment where nationalism is both strengthened and weakened simultaneously. Citizenship, on another plane, is a subtle yet implicit label of representation and belonging that seems to lose significance. The norm along the border, especially the sub region shared between Mexico´s Tijuana and United States’ San Diego, is to be present in both places at the same time, differentiating those who live on the border from those who reside along it. While the US is intended on drawing plans to stop immigration, build a physical border to limit the undocumented influx of people from Mexico and, encourage the growth of the US economy by renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has been fruitful for member countries for more than 20 years, the lower governments are focused on strengthening the binational ties and transform the Tijuana-San Diego region into a business and technological hub. As an auxiliary subject to this exercise, this research contemplates the analysis of foreign policy of both countries, taking a border perspective, which means highlighting the tools and local actors involved in the border dynamics of cooperation, while only acknowledging the interests, means and actions from the State level of analysis. It is necessary to adopt and adapt tactics that establish a strategically regional direction that strengthens economic development and cooperation ties between subnational administrations on both sides of the border, interdependently.

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