Death in Desert

EDITORIAL

It’s time the U.S. take steps to keep thousands of migrants from dying attempting to cross into this country.

LA Times – October 29, 2009

Operation Gatekeeper started in October 1994, focusing federal border security efforts on the five-mile stretch from the Pacific Ocean to San Ysidro. Within three years, the budget of the old Immigration and Naturalization Service — since split into two agencies — doubled to $800 million. The number of Border Patrol agents also doubled, along with the miles of fencing. Underground sensors nearly tripled.

In the 15 years since its inception,Gatekeeper, now shorthand for all federal enforcement efforts at the Mexican border, has had a range of consequences, some expected and others grimly surprising. For example, attempted crossings and apprehensions where enforcement is heaviest plummeted, just as officials had hoped. But migrants didn’t stay home. Instead, thousands attempted to cross in the dangerous desert lands to the east, in Arizona and Texas — and as many as 5,600 have died, according to a recent report by the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties and Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights. Illegal immigrants are now 17 times more likely to die while crossing the border than they were in 1998, according to the report.

To read more:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-gatekeeper27-2009oct27,0,5467269.story