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04.18.2019

Reynosa, a Unique View of Migration from Both Sides of a U.S.-Mexico Border City

By: Radiant Solutions


Read Time: 3 minutes

The conversation about the “border problem” in American society — and particularly in U.S. politics — shows little sign of abating. While migrant apprehensions across the entire border between the United States and Mexico are near a two-decade low, arrests in the Rio Grande Valley sector adjacent to Reynosa, Mexico have spiked since 2013. U.S. President Donald Trump visited the border across from Reynosa in January 2019 and renewed his vow to “build the wall” despite continued opposition from congressional Democrats, thereby keeping the issue firmly in public view.

This month’s Radiant Spotlight uses our unmatched analytic capabilities to provide unique insights into the problem of illicit cross-border travel from Central America. Migration across the U.S.-Mexico border is frequently viewed through a solely American lens. But by leveraging a suite of Radiant Solutions tools—including Signature Analyst, rMaps and our proprietary Risk Matrix indicators—plus DigitalGlobe’s 100-petabyte satellite image library, we provide an in-depth view of the risks faced by Central American migrants on both sides of the border.

How do you cut through the noise and identify the actual conditions on the ground in some of the world’s most troubled places? Watch the story unfold in America and in Mexico in April’s Radiant Spotlight.

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Sneak Peek: (excerpt from Maxar Spotlight)

Risk Matrix of Migrant Movements in Reynosa.

Once migrants arrive in Reynosa, they either move towards the international bridge or to illegal crossing points along the Rio Grande. Many migrants seek to stay on the international pedestrian bridge until their cases are heard by U.S. immigration officials. Others are financially able to stay in nearby hotels, though they are frequently preyed upon by extortionists and robbers, or smugglers hoping to entice them to cross illegally. Many migrants stay in smuggler-owned safe houses throughout Reynosa, where they stay until their smugglers feel that they can travel into the US successfully.

According to open source research, migrants were more likely to be victimized in the areas surrounding public security and government facilities. Therefore, in order to project high risk areas across the city, Radiant Solutions created a risk matrix using rMaps data (see following page) and a 2019 violent events dataset. The darker areas in the map below show where there was high correlation between violent events, public security infrastructure and government facilities. Transient lodging locations were also displayed to highlight the probable destinations for migrants in Reynosa.

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