GEOG 571
Intelligence Analysis, Cultural Geography, and Homeland Security

Introduction to The Border Region

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The U.S./Mexico Border Region has long been in a state of transition. Whereas it is widely recognized as a distinct region unified by common geographic attributes and cultural characteristics, it is, in reality, a place of great physical and cultural diversity.

The apparent physical uniformity of the region is a product of its relatively dry climate. Similarly, the outward appearance of Hispanic influences in architecture, food, place names, and its sizable Hispanic population suggests a level of cultural homogeneity that does not actually exist. In fact, the region is characterized by broad flatlands in the lower Rio Grande Valley and by desert basins and mountain ranges in Arizona, New Mexico, and California (United States Geography: The Southwest Border Area pp 1-4 9-21-2009). It is also a place of great cultural diversity.

Demographers believe that around twelve million people live in the Region. This number will probably double by the year 2025. In addition to people of European, African, and Asian ancestry, more than twenty indigenous nations or tribes also live there. Furthermore, the number of people of mixed ethnic and racial backgrounds is also growing.

The U.S./Mexico Border Region extends for approximately one hundred kilometers (62.5 miles) north and south of the international boundary and stretches three thousand, two hundred kilometers (two thousand miles) from the Pacific Ocean in California to the southern tip of Texas. Altogether, forty-eight counties in four states of the United States, and six states in Mexico, as well as eighty municipalities, are situated within the Border Region (see map of Border Region Source: EPA U.S.-Mexico Border 2020 Program.)