The US is spending millions on an ad campaign designed to combat the rumors, rampant throughout Latin America, that the American border is porous and the US is welcoming. Don’t come here, say the new US ads being shown all over Central America, we’ll just send you back. The ads, produced by the US Customs and Border Patrol (CPB), don’t merely warn about being sent back either. They go to descriptive lengths to say how brutal the futile journey to the border is–filled with death and danger. Don’t let your children embark on the trip, the US is saying to Latin American parents. They’ll die trying. It’s called the Danger Awareness Campaign.
The ads will run for 11 weeks, according to the CPB, on billboards in target areas like Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador–where desperately poor people customarily risk their lives to try to get to the US. The CPB will run “6,500 public service announcements” on radio and television–in Spanish, of course. The ads are meant to counter more than naive dreams of freedom. They work to contradict the promises of a booming human trafficking businesses run by “coyotes” who promise safe passage to the dreamers. If the Obama Administration’s request for nearly $4 billion to fight the “immigration crisis” is okayed by Congress, a large portion will be directed toward media efforts like these.