Public Release: 

US-Mexico border crisis marked by 3 'wars,' Baker Institute expert says

Payan: Drugs, immigration and homeland security dominate the countries' relationship today

Rice University

HOUSTON - (Oct. 27, 2016) - The contradictory approach of United States policy toward the U.S.-Mexico border could lead to a rise in anti-American sentiment in residents of Mexico and squelch any hopes of a North American community bound by a strong economic relationship in a peaceful and democratic region, according to an expert at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Tony Payan, the Françoise and Edward Djerejian Fellow for Mexico Studies at the Baker Institute and director of the institute's Mexico Center, is the author of the book "The Three U.S.-Mexico Border Wars: Drugs, Immigration and Homeland Security," of which the second edition was recently published. The book explores the issues that dominate the two countries' relationship today. The issues are most palpable at the 2,000-mile border shared by the U.S. and Mexico, he said. Payan is available to comment on the "wars" that characterize the border crisis: national immigration reform and the current Central American migration stream, U.S. border security and drug trafficking.

Payan said the United States' contradictory approach is marked by pursuing an aggressive economic integration while militarizing the border, failing to acknowledge the reality of cross-border human mobility and neglecting binational infrastructure projects.

"The evolution of current conditions on the border is due to a steady growth in the security concerns of the United States over almost two centuries," Payan said. "The border has gone through four historical stages that, ultimately, have crippled the region, sacrificing its ability to produce prosperity in exchange for greater security. The border is a place of hope in need of better management rather than reinforcement of the security regime that has prevailed in the last decades. A policy change is overdue."


In addition to being a Baker Institute fellow, Payan is an adjunct associate professor of humanities at Rice and a professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez. Between 2001 and 2015, Payan was a professor of political science at the University of Texas at El Paso.

The Baker Institute has a radio and television studio available for media who want to schedule an interview with Payan. For more information, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at or 713-348-6775.

Follow the Baker Institute Mexico Center via Twitter @BakerMexicoCtr.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.

Related materials:

"The Three U.S.-Mexico Border Wars: Drugs, Immigration and Homeland Security" book:

Payan biography:

Baker Institute Mexico Center:

Founded in 1993, Rice University's Baker Institute ranks among the top five university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute's strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes -- including a public policy course -- and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute's blog,

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