Segments in this Video

Meet the Participants (02:12)


Six Americans have agreed to participate in an experiment in the Sonoran Desert. Alison Melder, Lis-Marie Alvarado, Gary Larsen, Kishana Holland, Randy Stufflebeam, and Alex Seel share their conlficting opinions on illegal immigration.

Pima County Morgue (04:35)

The participants arrive in Tucson near the Mexican border where they are greeted by Greg Hess. They react to the bodies of people who died trying to travel one of the busiest and most dangerous corridors for illegal immigration to the U.S.

Cochise County (03:31)

Spending on border control has increased by billions since chaos ensured at the U.S.-Mexico border in the early 1980s. County Sheriff Mark Dannels points out the border fence that ends abruptly.

Operation Gatekeeper (01:56)

The plan was to funnel undocumented immigrants into inhospitable regions and away from urban centers. Drug cartels have taken control of the rugged terrain of rural Arizona.

Malpai Ranch (03:42)

The participants arrive at a border ranch southeast of Tucson where they meet Warner Glenn. See news footage of crimes committed by drug cartels. Glenn gives the group a tour of the area and tells stories about finding drugs and turning people into border control.

Reactions to Border Ranch Stories (02:17)

A retired marine and radio host, Stufflebeam thinks the U.S. should have a moratorium on all immigration. Participants share their opinions on immigration after hearing Glenn's stories.

Vandalism and Theft on Border (04:17)

Seel does not believe in borders. Ranchers believe the government has given up sections of the border to drug cartels. Larsen, a farmer, is taken aback when Ladd suggests that the problem will not stop until employers stop hiring illegal immigrants.

No More Death (02:04)

Each year, 180 migrants die in the Sonoran Desert. Maryada Vallet takes the group out on migrant trails to deliver supplies and offer help. Alvarado became a citizen last year.

Leaving Supplies on Migrant Trails (02:25)

Many migrants pay coyotes to get them across the border; some are abandoned in the desert. Nearly 2,500 migrants have died along the Arizona border in the last 20 year. Leaving water is a controversial issue.

Changing Stances on Immigration (03:21)

Holland and Seel express empathy for migrants who do not know if they will die in the Sonoran Desert. Stufflebeam and Larsen have different opinions on leaving water on migrant trails. Melder thinks all undocumented immigrants should be sent back to Mexico.

Body Identification (01:54)

Remains of 180 migrants are brought to the Pima County morgue each year. Chief Medical Examiner Greg Hess explains why this is a unique problem. Missing Migrant Project maintains a database of missing people.

Deceased Migrant Files (03:33)

Alvarado and Holland will travel to Mexico to research the life of Claudethe Sanchez whose remains were found in Pima County. Melder and Larsen will travel to Guatemala to learn about 13-year old Omar Lopez. Stufflebeam and Seal will go to Iowa to research Maira Zelaya

Maira Zelaya (03:54)

Zelaya arrived in the U.S. at age 30 where she lived for nine years before being deported. She died in the Arizon desert trying to make it back to her family in Iowa. Stufflebeam and Seel meet with her mother to learn about her life and death.

Claudethe Sanchez (03:11)

Alvarado and Holland are in Tapachula, the birthplace of Sanchez. Migrant women are vulnerable in this center of smuggling, prostitution, and illegal immigration.

Omar Lopez (05:09)

Larsen and Melder meet with Lopez' family. His mother traveled to the U.S. hoping for a better life for her children. She sent for her 13-year old son, but he did not survive the Arizona Desert. See a preview of the next episode.

Credits: Borderland: Episode 1 (00:40)

Credits: Borderland: Episode 1

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Borderland: Episode 1

Part of the Series : Borderland
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Gathered at the Pima County Morgue, in Arizona and tasked by the medical examiner Dr. Greg Hess, six American volunteers set out to retrace the footsteps of three migrants who died while crossing the border from Mexico. The six American’s embark on an arduous and often heart-breaking journey to Guatemala, El Salvador and Chiapas, southern Mexico, but only after they first explore illegal immigration on the US side of the border. They join a local Arizona sheriff in Cochise County, visit ranchers furious that Mexican cartels now smuggle people and drugs across their land and finally the group camps out in the Sonoran desert with humanitarian aid group No More Deaths. Confronted with two sides of the story, the six Americans start to realize that the world of immigration may not be as black and white as they originally thought it was...

Length: 50 minutes

Item#: BVL142868

ISBN: 978-1-64198-011-1

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.