He's never gonna understand
Better find a place to hide
On the other side of the Rio Grande"
A character, on the run from the law, has only one chance left at evasion: get out of the city, country or other jurisdiction entirely. Their crime might be addressed as a Fugitive Arc, a Great Escape, or escaping the Day of the Jackboot. A spy's cover might have been blown. Regardless of their crime (or lack of), they've resolved to escape the jurisdiction because of the pursuit.
When the law enforcement is actively looking for the characters, a Road Block is common to prevent their escape. When the law enforcement is unaware of the evasion, a Border Crossing scene may serve as climax. If the entire work is about the escape, you may see multiples of both.
If all goes well for the fugitive, the story may conclude with a Tropical Epilogue.
As noted under the Real Life section this can be Truth in Television but it's complicated. Most industrialized nations have extradition treaties with one another stipulating that authorities will turn over fugitives if apprehended in the country the individual has fled to. Even when countries don't have treaties extradition can still happen. On the other hand it gets fuzzy with less-developed countries, countries with very different governmental and legal systems or between countries with sour relationships. So while not common it does happen.
- A Certain Magical Index: Hamazura is forced to flee Academy City when he learns that he has topped Aleister's hit list. He certainly escapes in style: stealing a supersonic plane and auto-piloting it to Russia. Then World War III happens and AC forces continue pursuing him, so he has to make a run for the Elizalina Alliance border... but that doesn't stop the AC forces either, since it's a World War and he's only twenty meters inside the border anyway. He kicks himself mentally for thinking that such things as national borders would deter Academy City.
- In Marvel's Civil War, Ben Grimm took off for France when the government passed a Super Registration Act, forcing him to take up sides against friends and colleagues. He took a third option.
- The Lucky Luke album Canyon Apache revolves around a feud between a tribe of apaches and a garrison of cavalry troops, or more specifically, the blood feud between their leaders. The Apaches flee into Mexico after attacking the cavalry supply trains, leaving the cavalry with no recourse other than burning down their empty camp, with the Apaches burning down their empty fort while they're gone, and they've been going back and forth like that for several months by the time Luke shows up.
- The Dalton brothers do this by accident in Tortillas For the Daltons. They're being transported to a new prison near the Mexican border, and the reinforced wagon is spotted by mexican outlaws, who assume it's carrying something valuable and steal it, taking it back across the border. However, unusual for this trope, the Mexican goverment dont want the Daltons running loose in their country, and deputizes Lucky Luke to recapture them.
- The Star Wars Legends comics "The Duty", "Salvaged," and "Parallels", along with the final Republic Commando novel, feature Jedi fleeing toward the Outer Rim (where the Empire has no presence) in the months after Order 66. All of the groups contain Younglings. Sympathetic scavengers and freight haulers smuggle all of the groups (save the one in "Parallels") past Imperial patrols. The three latter groups make it, but the group in "The Duty" is wiped out by Vader.
- Tintin: In Tintin: King Ottokar's Sceptre, the sceptre's thieves try to make it over the Bordurian border. Tintin recovers the sceptre Just in Time before it passes out of Syldavia... Before succumbing to his hunger and crossing the border while carrying the sceptre anyway.
- Ultimate Spider-Man: When the Bugle released the content of the tapes that proved Fisk's murder of Mr. Big, Fisk left the country. In the epilogue we saw him in a tropical location.
- In an early Calvin and Hobbes Sunday strip, Calvin begins asking Hobbes about a solution to a "hypothetical" problem involving his dad's car. A problem that grows increasingly worse as he describes it. By the end, Hobbes is calling for a bus while Calvin practices his El Spanish "-o".
- In one Foxtrot story arc, Andy leaves for a while and Roger somehow floods the house with the dishwasher. Though they manage to drain the water by opening the back door, the house is still a horrific mess, and Andy is coming back the next morning. When Roger tells the kids they have a long night ahead of them, they assume he means cleaning, but Roger counters that they'll be fleeing for the border. They aren't sure whether or not he's joking.
Roger: Dress warm. We're heading into winter.
- Bequeathed from Pale Estates: With Robb's support, Theon flees to Dorne after he fakes his death. Theon heads to Dorne partly due to Lyarra vouching for him and partly because Dorne hates King Robert. Thus they would ignore any royal edicts declaring for his execution.
- Dirty Sympathy: After Phoenix unwittingly exposes the frame-up situation, Klavier and Apollo flee the country. Justified that many countries ended their extradition treaties with the U.S. after the Seventh Amendment was repealed.
- 'The End of the World'': The oceans of District 4 contain a minefield to keep people from sailing away, but citizens still make it through and flee toward South America semi-regularly.
- Harry Tano: After believing that Ahsoka Tano, who took Harry away from the Dursleys and raised him as her son, was actually a demon that Harry had summoned; the Ministry of Magic tried to have Ahsoka arrested and dissected. This prompted them and their allies to leave Great Britain and Europe behind, along with moving all of their Wolftech Facilities to America since it was well outside of the Ministries jurisdiction.
- Johanna Mason They Will Never See Me Cry Johanna tells two locals who have just killed a Peacekeeper not to comfort each other when they could spend that time running into the forests away from the lumber district. Otherwise, they'll end up in the song "Hanging Tree."
- The second act of 13 Assassins centers around this. The powerful and psychotic Lord Naritsugu cannot be touched in the capital because he's the Shogun's brother and he would take offense to any attempt to kill his brother in his own city. He cannot be touched in his own lands because he can afford enough troops to make any attack suicide. But when traveling between those two places, he only has a large but theoretically beatable honor guard. So Naritsugu's bodyguard Hambei tries to get his lord back home before the assassins can strike, while the assassins try to force Hambei to take a route that forces Naritsugu to pass through a prepared kill zone.
- 49th Parallel follows several Nazi submarine crewmen marooned in Canada fleeing for the borders of the then-neutral United States and being killed or captured one by one. Their leader, Hirth makes it across the border by stowing away on a baggage train. The customs officials he surrenders himself to are disgusted by Hirth's fanaticism and the murders he committed on his way to the border but feel their hands are tied. Then it's pointed out to them that Hirth is inside of a baggage car but isn't listed on the freight manifest. They send a message to the Canadian authorities to either properly list the "freight" or be take it off the train, knowing this will get Hirth arrested.
- Alpha Dog: With the cops fast on his heels for his role in Zack's murder, Johnny decides he needs to leave the country, initially planning to go to Canada, then Mexico, but both times he has a Villainous Breakdown off-screen and refuses because of the likelihood that he will be caught. He eventually escapes to Paraguay with help from Sonny and his godfather, where he's arrested 5 years later. (The real Jesse James Hollywood fled to Brazil.)
- Inverted in the opening of The A-Team movie featuring the newly formed team from fleeing a Mexican drug lord and his mooks to the U.S. border. The result?
Hannibal: General Tuco. You are engaged in unauthorized combat with United States military personnel... OVER U.S. AIRSPACE.
Cue Oh, Crap! looks from the Mexicans... followed by an air strike.
- Babylon (2022): Late in the film Manny concludes that the only way to escape the mob is to flee Los Angeles for Mexico. He tries to take Nellie with him but she ditches him just as the mob's hitman arrives. Manny is allowed to leave with his life as long as he leaves LA; by the epilogue he's made a life for himself in New York.
- The villains of Blood And Money flee through the Maine woods toward Canada after a bloody casino robbery. They are diverted pursuing a hunter who accidentally shoots one of the thieves and takes the robbery loot from her body.
- The big ending of Blue Streak starring Martin Lawrence as an ex-con posing as a cop to get into a police station to recover a diamond.
- The Bravados: After breaking out of jail, the outlaws run for the Mexican border, with Jim Douglass and the Posse close behind them.
- In Burn After Reading, one of the characters is caught trying to board a flight to Venezuela to escape a murder charge or two. Seeing as the CIA at this point are hoping to hush the whole farce up and hope it blows over, the Director orders that they stick him on the next flight out there.
Palmer: We had his name on a hot list. CBP pulled him in. Don't know why he was trying to go to Venezuela.
Director: You don't know.
Palmer: No, sir.
Director: We have no extradition with Venezuela.
Palmer: Oh! So what should we do with him?
Director: For fuck's sake, put him on the next flight to Venezuela!
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. While fleeing from their pursuers:
Sundance: Let's go to Mexico instead.
Butch: All they got in Mexico is sweat. There's too much of that here.
- They eventually decide to go to Bolivia.
- Mexico is Charlie Sheen's destination in The Chase (1994). And, ultimately, Kristy Swanson's, too.
- In Convoy, Rubber Duck, after unintentionally leading a humongous convoy through the U.S. Southwest, decides to escape to Mexico. However, Lyle Wallace who has been chasing him through most of the movie (and would have had him and his truck shot if it weren't for the explosive chemicals in his trailer) already awaits him there — together with the Mexican army including a battle tank.
- Happened in The Day After Tomorrow because Mexico was far enough south that the new ice age would be less deadly to people from northern United States. One especially snarky web review put it thusly:
TV NEWS: In other developments tonight, millions of Americans are evacuating to Mexico, which briefly closed the borders while drunk on the incredible irony of the situation, but then the administration forgave all Latin American debt. ¡Buenos días a nuestros nuevos amigos!
- Subverted in Double Indemnity. The protagonist declares he's going to make a run for the border, only to collapse before he's even got down the hall from his ultimately fatal injuries.
- Dragon from Russia, part of the film's climax have the titular character, Yao-lung, making a dash towards the Russian-Chinese border while being pursued by Chinese soldiers. He almost didn't make it, but his old flame, the Dark Action Girl Chimer, had a last-minute change of heart and returns to back his escape with a machine-gun.
- El Camino: Skinny Pete has Badger drive Jesse's El Camino to the Mexican border to give the authorities the idea that Jesse fled to Mexico. Meanwhile, he actually flees in the opposite direction to Alaska (which is separated by Canada).
- Flower (2017): After Luke and Erica find Will's dead body, they make a break for Mexico. Erica decides she doesn't want to live her life on the run and says she'd rather turn themselves in.
- Fortress (1992) has the protagonist John Brenneck (Christopher Lambert) and his pregnant wife try to leave a dystopian US after it implements a no-births policy to fight the increasing population growth. The film even opens with shots of the heavily crowded international bridges between the US and Mexico.
- From Dusk Till Dawn opens with the Gecko brothers, having pulled off a bank robbery, making their way to Mexico. Worth noting is that they actually have arrangements for living there (set up by a third party for a share of the loot).
- Get the Gringo begins with the gringo and his dying partner driving for the Mexican border after a robbery, with the authorities in hot pursuit. He makes it across the border but crashes in the process and is quickly picked up by Mexican border patrol officers. Those officers are prepared to hand the protagonist back over to his American pursuers without a fuss, before noticing all of the money in his car, stealing it, and taking the gringo to a Mexican prison.
- The famous lovers (in real life, too) of Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw in The Getaway.
- As the title suggests, this is the main character's plan in Going South. However, once he gets across the Mexican border, he stops to taunt the pursuing posse that they cannot legally touch him. They ignore the legal niceties and promptly drag him back across the border. In later scenes he practices his Spanish and makes another break for Mexico.
- The Great Escape climaxes with Steve McQueen making a desperate escape towards the Swiss border, while being pursued by Germans, in a high-speed motorcycle chase. It's one of the most iconic examples of this trope. Sadly, he doesn't make it.
- Gun Fury: After they rob the stagecoach, Frank Layton and his gang head for the Mexican border, unaware that Ben Warren has survived and is coming after them.
- The Hindenburg (1975): While the Countess isn't technically a fugitive, she is convinced that the Nazi government will soon kill or arrest her if she stays within their borders after she protested against the seizure of her land to build a rocket factory. Consequently, she is taking a zeppelin trip to America and secretly plans to stay there.
- I Come in Peace: After Victor Manning, the leader of the White Boys Gang, kills a cop, he flees to Brazil. He's cocky enough to send a postcard of himself with a bunch of Brazilian babes to the detective who was investigating him. After the whole ordeal with the alien drug dealer is over, Caine mentions that he's going to travel there to take care of Manning.
- In the Heat of the Night: Harvey Oberst, fleeing from the Sparta police, almost makes it across the Mississippi River bridge to Arkansas... except that Chief Gillespie, already parked on the Mississippi end in his car, simply drives up and slowly intercepts him mid-span.
- Last of the Dogmen: Ruthlessly mocked when three men escape from jail and head in the direction of the border. Even before running into a Hidden Elf Village of Native Americans who don't care for being shot at, it's obvious that the trio lack the physical prowess and outdoor experience to make it even a fraction of the journey.
Deputy: What do you figure they'll do?Sheriff Deegan: Keep running, make for the border, buy a little condo on a lake somewhere and live happily ever after. There's only one thing standing in their way...4,000 square miles of the roughest country God ever put on a map. There's not a road, not a town... hell, there's places out there that haven't even seen a footprint.
- This is the entire plot of The Last Stand, as an escaped cartel boss tries to evade the FBI by fleeing back to Mexico, and the police force of the last small town before his planned crossing point try to stop him.
- The ultimate objective for the X-23 children in Logan is to make a run into Canada, who had granted them asylum status.
- In Matilda, the Wormwoods flee to Guam (Majorca in the original book) when Mr. Wormwood catches on to the FBI agents about to expose his extremely illegal used-car sales practices. Given his anti-intellectual attitudes, Mr. Wormwood isn't likely to realize that Guam is a US territory and fleeing there won't do him much good.
- Les Misérables (1995): Andre and Elisa attempt to cross the Swiss border to escape the Nazis, but are caught in the attempt.
- In Monsters, the protagonists are stranded in Mexico, which is overrun by gigantic aliens. They are trying to sneak across the American border without getting arrested or eaten.
- Perfect Assassins: Billy takes a hostage and flees for Mexico after partaking in a mass assassination. This leads the heroes to discover the bigger plot at play.
- The Pilgrim: This Charlie Chaplin short ends with him escaping authorities by crossing over to Mexico... where he's almost caught in the crossfire of a bandito shootout. He decides to just straddle the borderline instead.
- Quicksand: After he thinks he has killed Mackey, Dan decides to run for Mexico with Helen. When his car breaks down, he hijacks Harvey's car and attempts to force the lawyer to drive them to Mexico.
- The Raid (1954) starts with a group of Confederate prisoners escaping from a POW Camp in Plattsburgh, New York and fleeing across the Canadian border. The film ends with them escaping St. Albans after the raid, just ahead of an arriving Union force. Burning a bridge behind them, they barely elude the Union forces and make a successful getaway to nearby Canada.
- In Road House, Jefty forces Susie, Pete, and Lily to come up to his cabin near the Canadian border. He teases them that the border is very close, but he won’t let them get away. Stupidly, he gets plastered and gives Pete and Lily a real chance to run to the border.
- In The Shawshank Redemption the heroes flee to Mexico.
- Shoot to Kill: The film follows a murderous diamond thief infiltrating a fishing party that will take him toward the Canadian border as an FBI agent and the boyfriend of the fishing guide pursue them. Unusually for the trope, all of them cross the border well before the climax, and the cops on the other side of the border help the protagonists continue their pursuit.
- Spoofed in Super Troopers, where one of the highway patrolmen scares three stoners by pretending to get shot by a criminal (another patrolman in disguise), who hijacks the police car they're in the backseat of, and is intent on escaping to Mexico, despite Canada being only a few miles away.
Disguised Patrolman: You boys like Mex-E-Co?!?
- In Sweet Hostage, escaped mental patient Leonard kidnaps Doris Mae to his mountain cabin. After Stockholm Syndrome sets in, she tells him that they should travel through the mountains on foot to Mexico so he can escape punishment and avoid being sent back to the asylum. The police arrive before they can leave.
- The majority of Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song consists of this. Most films of the era would have invoked a Downer Ending where the fugitive gets gunned down before making it across; to the shock of audiences at the time, though, Sweetback makes it into Mexico, with the closing card assuring the audience that he will one day return "to collect some dues".
- In a Run For The State Line variation, the ex-military father of Tank uses his World War II Sherman tank to free his son from the corrupt Georgia sheriff who'd framed him for drug dealing, then drives it to the Tennessee border where the governor has promised they'll all get a fair trial.
- In Thelma & Louise after Louise has shot a man who tried to rape Thelma, they decide to flee to Mexico, but Louise has one condition-
Thelma: "You want to run from Oklahoma to Mexico, but you don't want to go through Texas?"
- In They Live by Night, Bowie visits Hawkins, hoping he can help him and Keechie cross the border. When Hawkins tells Bowie he is unable to help him, a bereft Bowie returns to the motel and informs Mattie he is going to leave by himself to ensure the safety of Keechie and their unborn child.
- The third act of Tiger Bay revolves around Bronek trying to get away on a boat and reaching territorial waters three miles from shore where he was untouchable by the jurisdiction of the British police. Ends dramatically as he reaches the boundary but is still captured when swimming back to save his friend Gillie from drowning.
- The Toast of New York: At one point in the movie unethical businessman Jim Fisk has to flee to New Jersey to avoid arrest for a stock scam perpetrated in New York.
- In Tol'able David, three desperadoes escape punishment when they make it across the state line ahead of the posse that is chasing them.
- The Tough Guys Archie Long and Harry Doyle escape to Mexico — with a stolen Southern Pacific steam locomotive — just to find out that the track ends a few feet short of crossing the border. Not that they care much. They, too, face a well-armed Mexican border patrol, but they solve that problem their way.
- The Way Back (2010) Several escapees from The Gulag flee, hoping to escape from Russia and seek refuge in Mongolia. When they finally reach the border, they discover that Mongolia and Russia are now allies. Since the country on the other side of Mongolia also has communist ties, they are forced to cross ''three' borders before the survivors of the group are safe.
- We're No Angels: In the remake, the escaped convicts break out of a New York prison and are trying to cross into Canada as cops patrol the border. Unusually for the trope, the main characters reach the border very early on, but it's heavily guarded and something keeps stopping them whenever they think they've found a way to safely cross it.
- The Wild Bunch heads to Mexico after a robbery goes to hell and ends up getting involved in Pancho Villa's war for independence.
- In Young Guns, Billy the Kid constantly promises that he'll take the gang over the border into the relative safety of Mexico. He never leaves New Mexico however, and gets everyone killed for it. In the sequel, one of Billy's men pulls a Screw This, I'm Out of Here! and does actually reach the Mexican border. He is beheaded by Mexican police who are fed up with American outlaws fleeing to Mexico and use his execution to send a message to anyone else who might try it.
- In Boot Camp, three teens escape from an abusive boot camp in upstate New York and travel towards Canada, where they'll be safe. Sarah and Pauly make it. Garrett is captured and returned to the camp.
- City of No End: In the aftermath of Roman Kendar's murder, Piyra and Aldrich flee from Norn lands and head deep into the lower levels of the Depths.
- Dortmunder: In Don't Ask, Dortunder is captured robbing the diplomatic residence of Votskojek (a fictional Balkan state). He is seemingly flown to Vostkojek to be interrogated. Several chapters later, he escapes, and tries to flee to Votskojek's hated neighbor, Tsergvoia, which he has been told is only a few miles away. Dortmunder waves down a farmer on the first road he finds and cautiously asks if he's in Tsergovia or Votskojek. The farmer's reply (in English) reveals that Dortmunder's captors never took him out of the U.S., and have been playing him for a fool.
- In Dragon Bones, there is a not-anymore-slave who fled to Hurog because she heard that there is no slavery in Hurog. This law hasn't been enforced for quite some time, and Ward's father would have happily sent her back to her "owners" but Ward is different. Later in the series, someone flees to Hurog for political reasons. In both those examples, the person is not strictly speaking safe because she has crossed the border, but because Ward is willing to enforce the law of his land, with the sword, if need be - his neighbours are not very respectful of borders, overall.
- In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, after Snape mercy kills Dumbledore, the Death Eaters run for the border between Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, because they can't Apparate away as long as they're on castle grounds.
- Played for Laughs in Jeeves and Wooster whenever an Oh, Crap! situation is met by an escape to another country.
- Left Behind: Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist has a subplot where Buck has to smuggle Tsion Ben-Judah out of Israel into Egypt. This is despite the facts that (a) Israel is currently the safest place in the world, being divinely protected from the Apocalypse, and (b) there's supposed to be a One World Government, so neither "Israel" nor "Egypt" should exist any more.
- In Line of Delirium, the Psilons have retreated to their space and have maintained complete isolation after the Vague War. Nobody knows what's going on in Psilon territory.
- In Matilda, the Wormwoods flee to Majorca (changed to Guam in The Film of the Book) when Mr. Wormwood realizes that the government is onto his extremely illegal used-car sales practices.
- On Wings Of Eagles by Ken Follett dramatizes the true story of Electronic Data Systems employees escaping from Iran after the revolution. The 1986 television adaptation adapts the story even more for Rule of Drama (in truth, the trip was tense but in the end rather uneventful).
- "The Ransom Of Red Chief": After the kidnappers return the kid they'd abducted to his father and pay him the ransom (yes, that is correct), the kid "started up a howl like a calliope and fastened himself as tight as a leech to Bill's [one of the kidnappers'] leg. His father peeled him away gradually, like a porous plaster" and promised the kidnappers to hold him for some ten minutes tops. Bill decides that's quite enough to get to the Canadian border and bolts.
- The Riftwar Cycle: In the first Serpentwar Saga novel, Rupert and Eric try to flee to the Sunset Isles after killing Eric's half-brother due to a law there that said that criminals who stayed there without causing trouble for a year had their records cleared. They didn't even get close.
- In Shock Point, Cassie is imprisoned in Peaceful Cove, an abusive reform school on the coast of Mexico not far from the border. After she escapes, she spends several hours hiking in a random direction to put as much distance between herself and the school as possible. Then she starts walking north, trying to aim for San Diego. As she nears the border, she starts finding trash left by immigrants. After three days of hiking through the Thirsty Desert, she finally arrives at a four-foot-high barbed wire fence in the middle of nowhere and realizes she's nowhere near San Diego. She slips through a gap someone cut in the fence, flags down a National Border Watch jeep, and makes up a story about being kidnapped from Tijuana by a mugger who stole her ID and dumped her in the desert.
- In A Clash of Kings, the second A Song of Ice and Fire book, Arya travels with a group of Nights Watch recruits which includes a royal bastard whom King Joffrey and his mother want dead. The party comes under attack multiple times and ends up running and hiding as they try to make it to the unoccupied Riverlands ahead of House Lannister's soldiers. Unusually, they were going in that direction anyway, but their pursuers add a lot of urgency to the journey.
- Star Wars Legends:
- Pretty much the entire second half of Galaxy of Fear is the Arrandas and their uncle, having foiled an Imperial plot, trying to find a place outside of the jurisdiction of the Empire. But space doesn't have tremendously clear borders, so any place that looks safe generally isn't after a while.
- The A-Team: Inverted in "In Plane Sight." The main troublemaker is a drug lord who has been hiding out in Colombia because he has friends in high places there. The team has to trick him into driving across the border so he can be arrested.
- Spoofed in The Beiderbecke Affair, when the protagonists help a dissident escape across the Yorkshire-Lincolnshire border, and later the Yorkshire-Lancashire border.
- Breaking Bad: Huell and Kuby are sent to collect Walt's 100+ million dollar money stash. They stare at the giant pile of cash for a minute.
Huell: Mexico. All I'm saying.
- Andrew and Jonathan flee to Mexico at the end of season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- In an episode of The Closer a murderer fled to Mexico to avoid prosecution. But because his victim, an illegal immigrant, was a Mexican citizen, Brenda smiled, got him to sign a paper stating that he had no intention of leaving Mexico, then told him that he was now under Mexican jurisdiction. And Mexico takes a dim view of people murdering its citizens. Just as two Mexican cops haul him off.
- The murderer only steps into this trap because the victim's mother had claimed to be from (IIRC) Costa Rica, not Mexico.
- CSI's season 9 opener, "For Warrick" saw the main perp attempting to drive from Vegas across the Mexican border. The team apprehended him before he got there.
- CSI: NY's season 5 premiere had the perp try to escape to Canada before Mac caught up with him. Needless to say, he failed.
- An episode of Dexter wonderfully subverts this: after the previous season ended on a cliffhanger, with his sister discovering one of his murders, the next episode opens In Medias Res, with him rushing to the airport to buy a ticket out of the country. You only find out later in the episode, he was just there to kill a Ukrainian mobster, and had no intention of actually getting on the plane.
- Due South had a rather interesting variant. Ray was accused of killing a perp, though he actually didn't, and it looked worse because he had GSR on his hands from spending the morning at the range. Ray runs into the Canadian consulate and because it's technically Canadian territory, extradition proceedings have to be done before he can be removed. That gives Fraser time to find the evidence to clear him.
- Elementary: In the episode "Crowned Clown, Downtown Brown" the criminal of the week successfully escapes to Montenegro. The authorities however merely contact the government and (truthfully) inform them that he's carrying "a virulent superbug", leading to him being sent back.
"We might have left out the part about it not being lethal or contagious."
- In season 2 of The Expanse, a character flees from the Martian embassy on Manhattan to the border checkpoint, requesting political asylum on Earth.
- The F.B.I.: In "Image in a Cracked Mirror", Erskine and Jim chase an embezzler whom they know is heading for the Mexican border, but not where he is intending to cross.
- In the final season of Frasier, Niles ex-wife Maris kills her boyfriend in what she claims is an accident but circumstances make it look intentional. Believing that she won't get a fair trial, Maris concocts a plan to escape to her family's private island where she'll be immune to extradition. The note she leaves behind indicates that an uncle of hers did the same thing, which is where she got the idea from.
- Referenced occasionally in Friends. Phoebe's future plans tend to end up with her and an accomplice fleeing to Mexico for some reason. Which is odd, considering that Canada is much closer...She seems to prefer it because it's sunny.
- The Handmaid's Tale:
- June and her family tried to flee across the border into Canada, but got caught. Luke managed to get across later though, as does Moira.
- Emily (Ofglen) tried to leave Boston with her Canadian wife and son once things started getting bad, but she was stopped at the airport since she was only a Canadian citizen by marriage and the fundamentalist government no longer recognized same-sex marriage. They also realized she was a fertile woman, and weren't willing to give her up.
- In the second season, June flees again with Nick's help, but she's caught before getting on a plane to Canada.
- Emily later successfully escapes to Canada with June's baby Nichole, and reunites with her family.
- The trope is also inverted: Commander Waterford is lured into crossing the Canadian border unawares, where he's promptly arrested for crimes against humanity.
- Hogan's Heroes:
- Many episodes (especially ones from the first half of the show) feature Hogan and his men giving aid to escapees from other prison camps or shot-down airmen who've avoided capture as they flee back to Allied lines to rejoin the war effort.
- Several other episodes have Hogan helping German defectors avoid the Gestapo and flee to England to help bring an end to the war.
- In "The Pizza Parlor" Major Bonnacelli is trying to desert and ride out the war in Switzerland. He fails and is nearly arrested for treason, but Hogan (sensing that the major will make a good spy) tricks the Germans into thinking that it was all a Batman Gambit so Bonacelli could win the trust of the prisoners and then betray their escape attempt.
- "The Dropouts" features a pair of German atomic scientists and their bodyguard, who are fleeing for the Swiss border to keep their research out of Hitler's hands. They stumble across Hogan, who convinces them to go to London and give their research to the Allies.
- The climax of "Desert Son" has Lieutenant Williams try to make a run for Mexico rather than take responsibility for his part in a fatal friendly-fire incident, but he is killed when he gets caught in an air strike while trying to cut across a live-fire range.
- Discussed in "Brig Break": Sgt Lowell has a brief standoff with a group of white supremacist militiamen over his recruiting a black co-conspirator. He tells them they can just accept the arrangement or else Lowell and his men can head for Canada instead of helping the militamen.
- In "Scimitar", Harm and Meg along with the freed marine sergeant struggle to get out of Iraq (in 1996) and into Kuwait in an armored limo, chased by an Iraqi gunship helicopter, and assisted by a US Army attack helicopter.
- The killer in the Law & Order episode "True North" hauls ass to Canada, where she's originally from, upon realizing that the cops are closing in on her. Although Canada actually does have an extradition policy with the US, she probably assumed they wouldn't enforce it, as she could face death penalty, which Canada is opposed to. Indeed, it takes the prosecutors promising not to seek the death penalty for them to consent to extradition.
- The Man in a Suitcase episode "Somebody Loses, Somebody...Wins?" climaxes with a car chase in which the protagonist McGill flees East Germany into West Germany, pursued by the East German police.
- One season one episode of Mission: Impossible centered around an inversion: The team was trying to trick a drug dealer into chasing them from a country that had granted him sanctuary across the border into one that wouldn't, where the local police were waiting to arrest him and have him extradited to the US.
- In "Mr. Monk's 100th Case", it's revealed that serial killer Douglas Thurman, after strangling three young actresses, had Mexican currency in his wallet when he killed himself at a motel in Southern California, as he was fleeing from San Francisco to Mexico.
- In "Mr. Monk Goes to Mexico", Monk is lured to Mexico by a corrupt doctor who wants to kill him in revenge for Monk testifying against him in an insurance fraud case. Said doctor jumped bail, fled to Mexico and changed his name, and did so by committing two bizarre murders (a wild lion attack, and then a boy who drowned in mid-air while skydiving).
- In "Mr. Monk's Other Brother", Monk's no-good half brother Jack escapes from prison and wants Monk to clear his name on a murder charge. Monk eventually discovers Jack, while innocent, only wants the help so he can then flee to Paraguay without fear of extradition.
- Joy attempts this in My Name Is Earl, when she is facing felony charges, but it doesn't work out so well. Earl takes the rap for her and goes to prison in her place, when he sees that Darnell and the kids are suffering without her.
- Nichols: The proximity of Nichols to the US-Mexico border always makes this for the bad guys.
- In "The Siege", Nichols pulls an I Surrender, Suckers to allow revolutionary Colonel Alcazar to slip through the US lines and escape back to Mexico.
- In "The Indian Giver", Flying Fox steals Nichols' motorcycle and makes a run for the border after Nichols learns he is a Con Man: forcing Nichols to borrow a horse to give chase.
- Shane Vendrell wants to do this in Season 7 of The Shield, but needs to hang around Los Angeles trying to wait for the heat to cool off and to get some money to do so. Lem was going to do the same thing, until Shane murdered him.
- Americans flee to Mexico in the Made-for-TV Movie Super Volcano, where Yellowstone Park erupts, covers much of the US in ash, and plunges the world into a nuclear winter. They are forced to close the border here too.
- The cliffhanger ending of the first (and only) season of Terriers: Hank has made an enemy of a millionaire land developer and Britt is about to go to prison for 2 years. They sit at a traffic light where they can either return to Ocean Beach to face their fate or turn left and drive to Mexico to hide out.
Hell, no, son. Ain't gonna get the gun
- Also mentioned in the Theme Song "Gunfight Epiphany":
Seen a lotta things, and they've only just begun
Cause the minute they speak is the minute that I run
10 klicks south to the border station.
- Top Gear:
- Spoofed by a segment that didn't make it into the final cut. After "escaping" from Colditz (now a hotel, and Jeremy checked out with his credit card), they make what ends up being an economy run for the Polish border on 11.3562354 liters of fuel. James May is taken out and shot when he fails to make the border.
- Also spoofed at the end of the Albanian trip to find the best luxury car for "A Leading Light in the Albanian Mafia". The trio decide to stage a bank robbery for the last test and see which car makes the best getaway vehicle. The finish line is a boat out of the country and back to Spain. Jeremy and Richard successfully escape in the Mercedes and Rolls Royce while James trails behind in the "Bentley"note . His way is eventually blocked by the police who failed to catch Jeremy and Richard, so he runs himself off the road and over a cliff rather than be caught.
- After painting their cars with the most anti-Southern slurs they could think of, driving through Alabama and subsequently getting rocks thrown at them and nearly beaten, the crew made a run for the Louisiana border, which was the designated 'finish line' for the challenge.
- In the Patagonia Special, rumors surrounded Jeremy's Porsche with the license plate "H982 FKL", which many claimed was a jab at the Argentinean invasion of the Falklands in 1982.note Come the end of the special, a mob of nationalists surround the crew's hotel and threaten violence if they do not leave. The police escort them towards Chile, where they are attacked by a mob that hurls stones at the the windows of the camera trucks and injure two cameramen. When word reaches the crew of an even larger mob at the next city, they go offroad and cross into Chile.
- The Two Ronnies: "The Worm That Turned" was a spoof piece of dystopian fiction set in 2012 in which women rule Britain. Male and female gender roles are completely reversed, even down to men having women's names and vice versa. Men are housekeepers and wear women's clothes, and law and order is managed by female guards in boots and hot pants. The Two Ronnies play two downtrodden men, Janet and Betty, who aim to flee the domination of this fierce feminist state for the macho mining sanctuary of a country called Wales.
- Blues Traveler's "Get Out of Denver" is a local variant.
- Chris de Burgh's song "Borderline" is about this (probably the Nazi takeover of Germany, judging by the context of the sequel song "Say Goodbye to it All").
- Attempted by the narrator in "Cocaine Blues" by Johnny Cash, but not even making it to the border saved him.
Made a good run, but I run too slow
They overtook me down in Juarez, Mexico.
- Christopher Cross's 1980 hit "Ride Like the Wind," as the lyrics imply he escaped a death sentence after having "gunned down ten", and still has a long way to go to get to Mexico. This was later referenced in a 1999 The Onion story, wherein Cross finally reached the border.
- "Hey Joe," recorded by Jimi Hendrix among others, ends with the title character resolving to go to Mexico after shooting his wife for infidelity.
- Burl Ives' song "One Hour Ahead of the Posse." A murderer tries to reach the Rio Grande river and cross into Mexico.
- The Billy Joel song "Miami 2017" tells of a future in which New York City is destroyed and everyone flees to Florida. They can't Run For The Border because "The Mafia took over Mexico."
- "Ezekiel 7 and the Permanent Efficacy of Grace" by the Mountain Goats is about torturing a man to death and then fleeing to Mexico.
- Inverted in the Johnny Rodriguez song "Run for the Border," where the narrator is running for the border to get out of Mexico so he can get away from the irate knife wielding husband of a woman that he spent the night with.
- Bruce Springsteen's "Highway Patrolman" ends with one - the twist being that the runaway and the cop chasing him are brothers who ended up on different sides of the law.
I chased him through them county roads
'Til a sign said "Canadian border, five miles from here"
Pulled over to the side of the highway, and watched his taillights disappear
- The Steve Miller Band's "Take the Money and Run" is the story of a stoner couple that goes to El Paso, Texas to rob a house and shoot the owner, because they got bored. They escape south to Mexico, pursued by a detective.
- George Strait's "The Seashores of Old Mexico."
- Deconstructed somewhat in Townes Van Zandt's "Pancho And Lefty;" Lefty sells Pancho to the federales so he can run for the border himself...and ends up dying alone and broken-hearted.
- Subverted in Warren Zevon's "Lawyers, Guns and Money" - he makes it to Honduras, but the trouble has followed him. "Send lawyers, guns, and money/The shit has hit the fan."
- Discussed for comedy in Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues. A group of children receive superpowers one night while staying after hours at their high school. One of the students, Sebastian, also gained an eldritch entity that serves as his Spirit Advisor. One of the first pieces of advice she gives him, only a few minutes after he's gotten his powers, is to flee the country before the government catches on to him. He ignores her.
- Border Crossing, an adventure for Espionage and Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes. The player characters are Western spies who infiltrate East Germany during the Cold War to investigate a mysterious "factory", and then have to get themselves out of East Germany. Unless the players have done an incredible job (or the GM has incredibly lousy die rolls), the secret police will be coming after the characters at some point in the mission.
- The "Made it to Mexico" quality from the Shadowrun supplement "Safehouses" means your hidey-hole is in another jurisdiction, making it much harder for the heat to track you. The downside is that you have to cross the border first.
- In a sense, this trope is part and parcel of Shadowrunning. MegaCorp organizations in this universe have extraterritorial status; that is to say, on corporate property, they have permission to make and carry out their own laws. If a Shadowrunner is caught on corporate grounds with illicit goods or information, they're in deep shit... but if they get onto public property or, better yet, property belonging to another MegaCorp (especially whichever one hired them), the local law supersedes the corp's authority.
- In Spycraft 2, if you find yourself the subject of a manhunt you can escape by invoking this trope to initiate a chase scene: the manoeuvre is actually called "Run for the Border".
- In Boris Godunov, Anti-Hero Grigory becomes a fugitive and succeeds in escaping Russia after a close encounter with the police at an inn near the Lithuanian border.
- In No Exit, this is the true backstory of Garcin. He tried to run away to Mexico, but got caught and executed.
- Some Like It Hot: This version of the story has Joe's plan to evade Spats and his henchmen be to tour with Sue and her all-female band across the country to San Diego, then cross the border into Mexico. Daphne, the one who had been developing reservations about escaping, actually spends a fun and romantic evening with Osgood in Tijuana...then goes back to San Diego. The irony is lampshaded.
- In The Sound of Music, the Von Trapp family flee Austria after it has been taken over by Nazi Germany.
- The first stage of 007 Racing revolves around Bond's rescue of Cherise Litte in an Eastern European military outpost before fleeing towards the border in his gadget-laden Lotus V6. Tanks and helicopters will get in his way, and the cutscene after completing the mission sees Bond using an Oil Slick to take out two jeeps.
- Parodied in Death Road to Canada: you and a group of survivors spend the entire game trying to make your way to the Canadian border, but not for any political reason—you're trying to escape a zombie apocalypse, and for some reason the zombies don't cross the border.
- In Detroit: Become Human, much of Kara's story involves her trying to flee across the border to Canada with Alice in tow. It's easy to miss, but androids are (conveniently) outlawed in Canada, so a fugitive android who wants to avoid being destroyed by the US authorities can build a new life there if they manage to blend in.
- Dragon Age II begins with Hawke and his/her family fleeing the monstrous invasion of darkspawn. It potentially ends with Hawke on the run with his/her Love Interest, who may be a highly wanted criminal.
- Life Is Strange 2 is centered around brothers Sean and Daniel making a run for Mexico to avoid prosecution after a trigger-happy cop kills their father and causes Daniel's telekinesis powers to awaken and kill the cop.
- In Papers, Please, you play a border inspector in the Fictional Country of Arstotzka, and you may encounter a number of desperate refugees (including a few asylum seekers later on) coming through your check point. The Inspector will have to turn them away if their paperwork isn't in order, or face increasingly severe pay deductions. You eventually get the ability to detain suspicious characters. One ending even has you, and however many family members you can afford, flee to Obristan with forged passports.
- The basic premise of Road 96. You play as an assortment of teen runaways trying to cross the border before Election Day.
- Supermarioglitchy4's Super Mario 64 Bloopers: In "Mario Does Literally Anything for Views", Mario and SMG4 attempt a "Buried Alive" challenge. When SMG4 sees he accidentally left Mario buried for 274 hours, he packs up and flees to Mexico.
- Alfred J. Kwak: Alfred and his friends flee to neighbouring Broad Reedland when their home Great Waterland is turned into a fascist dictatorship by Dolf and his National Crows Party.
- Hong Kong Phooey: One of his fellow superheroes had to let a criminal go because said criminal had crossed the state border.
- Ricochet Rabbit and Droop-a-Long Coyote: Sheriff Ricochet Rabbit pursued a criminal named El Loco Lobo until Lobo crossed the border and was arrested by Ricochet's Mexican cousin counterpart, Ricochet Chavez.
- Robotomy: "The Trials of Robocles": Mr. Dreadnot attempts this when he learns that he'll be teaching puberty to his class after draining his bank account, burning his apartment, disguising himself in drag, and changing his name. He ends up chained to two guards and escorted to school.
- The Simpsons:
- "The Bob Next Door": Sideshow Bob tries to kill Bart at Five Corners, a point where five states meet, intent on carrying out the murder in pieces across the different state lines so that he hasn't committed a murder in any specific jurisdiction and cannot be tried for it.note When the cops show up, Bob tries to use the border to escape from Chief Wiggum, only to find police officers from the other four states have him surrounded.
- "My Big Fat Geek Wedding": Groundskeeper Willie flees for the border in the mistaken belief he ran over a student at Springfield Elementary with his tractor.
Groundskeeper Willie: Oh my God, I've shredded a child! AGAIN! Venezuela, here I come!
- "Whacking Day": When Principal Skinner worries that the bullies he has left locked up may have died, he suggests he and Willie flee to Mexico. Willie mutters that he'll turn Skinner in at the first toll booth.
- South Park:
- "The Last of the Meheecans": Inverted. Butters inspires a resurgence of nostalgia, homesickness, and nationalism that causes Mexican emigrants to the United States to cross the border back into Mexico. Border patrol guards eventually have to guard the border on the U.S. side instead to prevent the loss of menial labourers to the American economy.
- "Cartman's Silly Hate Crime 2000": Cartman is tried as an adult for committing a hate crime against Token by throwing a rock at his head (it had nothing to do with Token being black, they were arguing because Token kept calling him fat, this was before Cartman had become openly racist and was mostly portrayed as a Fat Idiot). He's sentenced to imprisonment in juvenile hall until he's 21, but makes a break for it, and makes Kenny drive him to Mexico in his Go-Go Action Bronco, a small battery-powered car. Despite how comically slow the Bronco is, it's treated like a high-speed police chase, and they even manage to smash through a police blockade, before the Bronco runs out of juice a few feet from the border.
- Star Trek: Prodigy: "Crossroads": The Protostar is being chased by the Dauntless thanks to a series of terrible luck on the part of the Protostar's crew. At Okona's suggestion, the crew remodulate their shields to disguise themselves, then slip into the Romulan Neutral Zone, forcing the Dauntless to back off.
- We Bare Bears: The Movie: After the Bears' latest antics cause a city-wide blackout and get them in trouble with the law, they decide to flee to Canada in a custom van and start a new life.
- People get a lot of ideas in their heads about extradition, many of them from TV, not all of them particularly accurate:
- First, the lack of an extradition treaty between two countries doesn't mean you can never be extradited. A treaty just codifies and standardizes the complicated process. Without a treaty, two countries who agree on the process can still allow extradition on a case-by-case basis. Obviously, the more hostile the relations between the two countries, the less likely extradition would realistically be. But then a criminal fleeing the U.S. probably doesn't want to settle in Iran or North Korea, nor are such countries particularly friendly to their own criminals, let alone foreign ones.
- Second, if two countries have a snag somewhere — e.g. the offense is punishable by death in one country and not the other — the country with a stricter rule can promise the other country that they'll use the less strict rule. Mexico's constitution itself forbids the deportation of anyone facing the death penalty in their home country, which is reflected in its extradition treatiesnote , but Mexico may still extradite a wanted criminal if the other country promises not to execute them.
- Third, in a few instances, there's nothing stopping a private citizen from kidnapping a fugitive and bringing them back to their home country to answer for their crimes. Only a few countries allow this, but the United States is one of them. This is also why the U.S. is one of the few countries where bounty hunters are legal.
- Fourth, the "nationality principle" of international law means that citizens and legal residents of a nation are still bound by their national laws, even if they are beyond the legal borders. This allows nations to prosecute their citizens for crimes committed in a foreign country. A few countries do this for crimes that can only really be done in a foreign country, like bribing foreign officials or child sex tourism. The U.S. is also one of the very few countries that uses this principle to tax its citizens wherever they are in the world.
- Fifth, the concept of "universal jurisdiction" delineates a few special crimes for which any nation may prosecute someone, regardless of whether the crime ever took place there or whether the offender has any connection with that country. This usually applies to crimes that pose a threat to humanity as a whole, such as piracy, war crimes, terrorism, and genocide.
- Sixth, the concept of "hot pursuit" is an attempt to avert this, allowing law enforcement who is in the middle of chasing someone to continue the chase even if it crosses outside their jurisdiction.
- Seventh, the "protective principle" allows nations to prosecute anyone committing a negative action against their governments or operations, even if said acts do not occur within their borders. This is used to prosecute spies, terrorists, drug traffickers, plotters attempting to overthrow a government and so on.
- Federal systems create unique problems, as there are external borders and internal borders. Without a system that can cross the internal borders, it's easy to just hop from state to state and evade justice. In fact, a big reason the FBI was formed to begin with was that without any federal police force, gangsters could avoid apprehension just by crossing state lines, which they particularly abused during Prohibition. This kind of thing is also seen in Europe, as the Schengen Agreement has made it easy to just cross the border into a foreign country.
- Voltaire, after being forced to flee Paris, made it a point to live near borders in case he needed to run for it.
- During The French Revolution, many Royalists fled France fearing reprisals from the revolutionary government. And during the Hundred Days in France, when the Bourbon monarchy returned to power, many of Napoleon's most prominent supporters, faced with the choice between exile and death (by firing squad or royalist mob), chose exile themselves. The few who stayed were forced into exile anyway fifteen years later during the July Revolution.
- During the era of slavery in the United States, escaped slaves would often flee for a state which didn't recognize slavery. However, the enactment of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 meant that escaped slaves in free states were supposed to be deported to the South, and the Dred Scott decision claimed that slaves weren't automatically freed just by going to a free state (even if said free state's laws said otherwise). This forced many slaves to keep running all the way to Canada. This being said, the Underground Railroad and the efforts of many abolitionists (Black and white) meant that the Fugitive Slave Act was almost completely unenforceable.
- During the Spanish Civil War in 1939, many Republicans tried to flee the country to avoid being hunted down and brutally tortured, imprisoned, or killed by the new Nationalist government. Some fled to former Spanish colonies like Mexico, but many bolted for France, even dumping their weapons at the French border, only for France to fall itself. Many were sent back to concentration camps in Spain, although a few escaped and joined the French Resistance.
- World War II:
- During the rise of Nazi Germany in the 1930s, many intellectuals, political opponents, and Jews emigrated to escape persecution. Many of them fled to other European countries, but they would found themselves in the same situation all over again when the German army invaded and occupied these states several years later.
- After France fell to the Vichy regime in 1940, it was divided into Occupied France and the Free Zone. If you could flee to the Free Zone, from there you could bolt for the border with Switzerland or Spain, both of which were neutral countries. That lasted until November 1942, when the Nazis invaded the Free Zone and put Germans to guard the borders. Networks of people smugglers were created, a number of them linked to the Resistance and being directly responsible for saving thousands of Jews and dozens of downed Allied pilots. Some were uncovered and their members either deported or executed.
- Alexander Schmorell, a member of the pacifist White Rose resistance group, fled for Switzerland after the group's exposure (something briefly mentioned in the Historical Fiction movie Sophie Scholl: The Final Days). Bad weather prevented him from crossing the border, and he was recognized, arrested, and executed.
- The Americans imprisoned German prisoners of war in the U.S. A few of them escaped and tried to make it to the border, only to find that the U.S. is not nearly as conducive to this kind of thing as Europe is (and that Mexico and Canada were both on the Americans' side anyway):
- A group who escaped from a camp in Kansas were caught three days later. They asked how close they had gotten to Mexico. They were so ignorant of the vastness of American geography that they were dismayed to learn that they hadn't even left the state.
- Late in the war, 25 Germans broke out of a camp in Arizona, outside of Phoenix. Most tried to hike to Mexico, but only two got farther than a few miles before being caught. Three built a boat, intending to row down the Gila River, only to discover that said river is usually a dry riverbed (which they didn't notice until they were standing in it) and the only time it might be navigable would be during a flash flood.
- The film The One That Got Away was based on the real story of a German pilot who was held in Canada before Pearl Harbor (and thus before the U.S. even joined the war) and managed to escape to the U.S. Not that he lasted very long there.
- Immediately after the Partition of British India, thousands of Hindus and Sikhs fled from the newly created Pakistan to India, while thousands of Muslims fled to Pakistan. Many of them were killed on the way by militants from the other groups.
- During the Cultural Revolution, many Chinese fled to wherever they could, even other Communist countries that weren't so bad, including Vietnam (mired in a frigging civil war) and North Korea (which is, well, North Korea). Hong Kong was a great option, but it was closely guarded. Some tried to swim all the way across the Fujian Strait to Taiwan. It was that bad.
- During The Troubles, this was a favoured strategy for the various militant groups, as the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is long, tortuous, and impossible to seal. IRA members could launch an attack in Northern Ireland, flee back across the border, wait out the heat in a safehouse, and take advantage of Ireland's non-extradition policy. British forces who tried to follow them across the border risked provoking diplomatic protests from the Republic.note Irish soldiers patrolled the border on their side for the dual purpose of arresting rebels and preventing British forces from crossing. In spite of this, there are (unconfirmed, and officially denied) reports of British Special Forces crossing the border anyway and apprehending IRA operatives. The Irish border has such a sordid history that a key snag in the Brexit negotiations decades later was how to make a customs border without looking like the one that existed during the Troubles.
- During The Gulf War, this happened to a small British SAS patrol known as "Bravo Two Zero", who got trapped behind enemy lines in Iraq and had to make a run for the Syrian border. Of the eight-man patrol, one was killed in action, two tied of exposure, four were separated from the group and were capture, and the last, Chris Ryan, successfully fled 180 miles on foot to Syria, in the process setting the record for the longest known successful escape and evasion.
- North Koreans trying to escape their notoriously oppressive country will occasionally make a break for South Korea, but that particular border — with its wide demilitarized zone and its very heavy security — is very difficult to break through, although a few have succeeded. Instead, many will make a break for China, but they can't stay there because the Chinese will send them back to North Korea if they're caught (with very serious consequences for them), so they have to continue to a third country, usually Thailand (via Laos), Vietnam, or Mongolia. All of these countries will arrest these defectors as illegal migrants, but will deport them back to South Korea, which extends citizenship to North Koreans as well. Defectors' ability to do this varies depending on those countries' relations with China and North Korea.
- During The Vietnam War, some American draft dodgers tried this. Many draft dodgers fled to Canada, while some went to Europe. After the war, many South Vietnamese loyalists and ethnic Chinese fled Vietnam as "boat people", many of them fleeing to the United States.
- Following the Communist takeover of Laos, much of the Hmong population were persecuted as traitors and "lackeys" of the Americans as a result of Hmong involvement in the civil war that preceded it, with the Laotian government and its Vietnamese allies carrying out human rights abuses against Hmong civilians. As a result, many Hmong civilians in Laos fled to Thailand. Others built boats and sailed to other countries that weren't so bad, such as the United States (with Minneapolis-St. Paul and Wisconsin gaining substantial Hmong populations), Australia and France.
- Roman Polański. After pleading guilty to sexual acts with a 13 year old girl, he accepted a plea bargain that would keep him out of jail. But when the courts planned to overturn said plea bargain, Polanski very quickly skipped the country for France. Which thanks to him being a legal French citizen, gave him immunity to extradition.
- After Def Jam Recordings co-founder Russell Simmons got caught up in the Weinstein effect and was accused by several women of sexual assault, he moved to Indonesia, which has no extradition treaty with the US.
- In the Netherlands in 1983, beer magnate Freddy Heineken and his driver were kidnapped by a gang led by the criminal Willem Holleeder. While the police eventually apprehended most of the kidnappers, Holleeder and his companion Cor van Hout fled to France, which did not have a settled extradition treaty with the Netherlands at the time that covered kidnapping and extortion. The French government considered the two criminals to be Persona Non Grata and put them under house arrest, then transferred them to different overseas territories before finally agreeing on their extradition terms in 1986.
- Large numbers of Russians did this following the initial phase of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine primarily to avoid being detained for anti-war views and protesting, but things really kicked into high gear with the partial mobilization order in September of 2022 which caused many ordinary people to flee in order to avoid being drafted causing massive lines at the Georgian, Kazakhstan and Mongolian borders. The total number of those who fled may now be as high as 700,000.
- For forty years, thousands of people attempted to flee East Germany for the West, as the West German government recognized only one German citizenship which automatically applied to East Germans. Between them and freedom was the Inner-German Border Zone, the Berlin Wall, and the East German Border Troops, who were ordered to shoot on sight anyone attempting to flee. Their methods ranged from the simple to the simply ingenious: fake passports, hiding in the trunks of cars, digging tunnels, stealing aircraft, building a hot-air balloon from scratch, and much more. In 1989, Hungary eliminated its border restrictions with Austria, allowing East German vacationers to cross over to the West. A few months later, the Berlin Wall was opened.