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Sewage—a scary mixture of human waste and industrial toxins—flows into the Tijuana River Valley, an environmentally sensitive watershed that straddles the United Mexican States ("Mexico") and the United States of America. Treatment plants, a deteriorating one in Punta Bandera with limited capacity south of the border, and another in San Diego County completed in 1997, are inadequate to process the volume of sewage. So much sewage made its way into the Tijuana River that CBS 60 Minutes broadcast a special report on the binational environmental disaster in 2020.

Border factories and a population spike contribute to the sewage. Maquiladoras, or border factories, sprawl in a region twenty-five miles from the Pacific Ocean that abuts the U.S.-Mexico border. Tijuana’s population grew from 60,000 in 1950 to 2.2 million people, exacerbated by the addition of tens of thousands of displaced persons waiting in temporary shelters for asylum claims to be heard in the United States.

This Article looks at what has traditionally been the sole subject of international law and relations: sovereign States. The State remains the primary actor in international law, international relations, and along the U.S.-Mexico border, but it is not the only actor. This Article details the most important international agreements for the U.S.-Mexico border region.concerning the flow of waterways, the quality of water, and the respective responsibilities of the two countries which consists of a complex legal regime comprised of treaties, Minutes, and operating procedures with States and non-state actors (NSAs).