The Ever Tightening Border

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Sounds like the tightening of border security is working! You know how you can tell? Just count the dead bodies!

More migrants die as U.S. tightens border security

By Robin Emmott Thu Jul 12, 12:34 PM ET

REYNOSA, Mexico (Reuters) - Tougher security along the U.S.-Mexico border is forcing migrants to take more dangerous, remote routes to cross into the United States and pushing up the number of deaths in the desert.

This year could see a record of well over 500 such deaths. At least 275 Mexican bodies have been found in the first six months, according to a Mexican Congressional report backed by U.S. and Mexican border groups and academics.

They say at least 4,500 Mexicans have died trying to cross since the United States drastically increased border controls in late 1994 to stem illegal immigration.

Following the failure of President George W. Bush's immigration reform proposals in Congress last month, U.S. policy is centered on tighter border security rather than giving immigrants more options to find jobs legally.

But some border experts say enforcement does not stop those trying to get into the United States and only makes it more dangerous, greatly raising the fees charged by people smugglers. As security increases, so will the number of deaths, they say.

"Has enhanced border security increased the number of migrant deaths? Unquestionably," said Wayne Cornelius, an immigration expert at the University of California San Diego. "There is no other way to explain the sharp increase in fatalities."

The Border Patrol recovered some 116 bodies in the Arizona desert between last October 1 and the end of June, and it only records deaths on the U.S. side of the frontier. It blames ruthless smugglers for taking migrants through dangerous terrain and sometimes abandoning them there.

"The number of migrant deaths is increasing because smugglers are taking them to less-patrolled, more dangerous areas," Border Patrol spokesman Ramon Rivera said. He said agents rescued 1,450 people in the desert in the same period.

Unknown numbers of migrants from Central America and other countries also die each year.

The U.S. government has raised its Border Patrol deployment to around 13,500 agents today from fewer than 4,000 in 1993 and plans to add a further 9,600 agents by 2012. It deployed 6,000 National Guard troops to the border last year for a two-year period until more agents are hired.

Washington aims to have "operational control" of the border by 2013 by building a 700-mile (1,120-km) wall along parts of the frontier and creating a "virtual fence" in desert areas with drones, sensors, cameras, satellite technology and vehicle barriers.

DROWNING, HYPOTHERMIA

Before the stepped-up enforcement operations, experts say most deaths were due to traffic accidents as migrants dashed across freeways in border areas. Today, most die from hypothermia in the desert or by drowning in the Rio Grande and irrigation canals.

Many Mexicans seeking work in the United States try the overnight trek through the hostile Arizona desert and away from urban areas such as Tijuana on the California border.

Between 2000 and 2005, 802 bodies were found in the desert, compared to 125 between 1990 and 1999, according to the University of Arizona.

Surveillance is expected to increase in the Arizona desert but some experts say that will simply encourage more people to try to cross remote swamp areas of the Rio Grande in Texas.

"As they increase enforcement in Arizona, we will see a shift toward the eastern and western fringes of the border. In Texas, we are already seeing more drownings," said Claudia Smith of the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, which campaigns for immigrants' rights.

Migrant shelters in Mexican border towns say they see no sign of less illegal immigration despite a fall in Border Patrol arrests. Some shelters, such as in Reynosa in northeastern Mexico, are expanding to offer more beds.

U.S. wage levels that are much higher than in Mexico remains the main incentive for attempting the difficult border crossing.

"I've got an uncle in Florida and the chance of something is so much better than here," said Adan Zendejas, a 24-year-old who cannot swim, as he readied to cross the Rio Grande from Reynosa on a car tire.

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12 Comments

Border crossing has been a horrendous thing for years. The idea that "stepped up enforcement" of late has made one whit of difference is laughable. They've added 11 miles of fencing and the Border Patrol remains hugely understaffed.

The only change that will make a difference is when crossing becomes recognized as well-nigh impossible, and when the lure is quashed:

Enforce the laws on employers who hire under the table. Eliminate the magnet for illegal workers, and eliminate the safety valve for the rulers of the countries they come from.

Does anyone actually think the solution to Mexico's problems is allowing the oligarchs to have free reign and send the citizens north? Mexico is not exactly a desert wasteland.

Had Enough said:

They knew the consequences of their actions. You play with fire you get burned, you jump into a snake pit you get bit.

Just like any of us, we never believe that it will happen to me.

What about the 43,000 American Citizens that have died at the hands or actions of the illegals that have made it over the border.

More illegals are most likely dying because of the mad rush over the border when they thought they were getting amnesty. All their criminal peers were already busy creating new fake ID's and other documents so that they would have documentation that they had been here since before 1-07.


jacob said:

Kevin,
I see a solution to the problem of illegals coming into our country through the desert and dying. Finish the fence and man it. That way the illegal aliens won't be able to get into our country in the first place.

ACTivist said:

Let's see. They cross at more dangerous areas. The death toll for illegals are increasing. The coyotes are charging more. All we need do now is enforce deportation on all illegals and that makes it a loss-loss situation for them. If you post notices and drop leaflets to this end, maybe, just maybe, it might cause some deterence. If you add the fact that if you die in the desert in the U.S. then you will be buried in the desert and not return the bodies to the families. It may sound heartless but they get a free burial and it WILL deter some.

Eric the 1/2 troll said:

Such care for your fellow human being is so heartening to see.

Kevin said:

"Kevin,
I see a solution to the problem of illegals coming into our country through the desert and dying."

I think I'm just bringing what I believe to be a little bit of fair reporting to the topic.

There are people dying to get in here. There will be more willing to die to get in. And they will.

Jack said:

Far more people will die driving to work.

Tom said:

This is a reminder that you either need hardcore enforcement and prevention right at the border or you shouldn't be enforcing at all. It's asking to die when you try to hike across Cabeza Prieta or Organ Pipe in the summer. I know. I tried to do it myself when I lived there. A real border patrol would never allow people to penetrate so deeply before they even began enforcement efforts.

jacob said:

Kevin,
The point to make is not that "trying to enforce the border causes people to die" but the "Mexico is such a h*ll hole that they are willing to risk their lives to come to the USA"

Fair reporting? That requires first taking responcibility for ones own country and not over looking the mess south of the border. Are you sure you are not standing the situation on its head?

The Mexican nation needs to rid itself of corruption. Proping up that disaster down there via 20M migrant laborers is harming both countries. Make no mistake, every dollar earned here only postpones the badly needed policy clean up
in Mexico.

A strongly secured border will keep people from getting into our desserts in the SW and dying.

Kevin said:

Jacob,

"The point to make is not that 'trying to enforce the border causes people to die' but. . ."

I'm glad to see you finally posted something on the main page instead of telling me what my points are.

"The Mexican nation needs to rid itself of corruption. . ." sounded like a plenty good starting place. I'm glad I inspired you to actually MAKE A POINT and write about it in a post of your own.

And yes, it was fair reporting, not reporting to make a point. It's called news.

jacob said:

Kevin,
"I'm glad to see you finally posted something on the main page instead of telling me what my points are."
I was not telling you what _your_ points are. I was stating what I see as the more important point. News is made up of the important points. That sir is _a_ subjective element, which is a key part of the point I was making.

As for fair reporting, how can ones biased estimate of 'what' is news ever be fair.

Kevin said:

ok, fine, you get the last word Jacob. Unless Jack beats you to it (and I thought his point was pretty good). Oh, and I concede everything.

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