Straddling the Wall: Comparative Framing of Trump’s Border Wall in U.S. & Mexican Newspapers

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border, border wall, framing, global journalism, Mexico, Trump.


Donald Trump’s most notorious promise before and during his presidency was the construction of a border wall. The issues surrounding new construction of Donald Trump’s border wall (both physically and rhetorically) are complex and the outcomes are difficult to predict. The study examines how Trump’s border wall was framed in online newspaper publications of the international border cities of San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico, and in El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Specifically, the study employs a comparative framing analysis using the John Agnew’s (2008) theoretical lens of borders as equivocal spaces of dwelling that bring about both benefit and harm — the standard of a decent life. The analysis revealed the frames of: Mexico will pay for the wall; DACA as leverage; political contention; protest and dissention; environmental impact; immigration package; separation and divisiveness; safety and security; and economic consequences. A majority of the content published in the U.S. was produced locally, however, most of the content published in Mexico was from news agencies, except for the opinion pieces that were locally produced for outlets on both side of the border.


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Author Biographies

Nathian Shae Rodriguez, San Diego State University

Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism & Media Studies.

Mariana De Maio, Lehigh University

Assistant Professor, 

Department of Journalism and Communication


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How to Cite

Rodriguez, N. S., & De Maio, M. (2021). Straddling the Wall: Comparative Framing of Trump’s Border Wall in U.S. & Mexican Newspapers. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 8(4), 171–191.



Original Manuscript

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