Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Illegal Mexican border crossings are down, but deaths are up, especially in rural areas

While the number of illegal crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border has gone down, the number of deaths has increased, with 6,000 official deaths—remains found—since 2000, Karen Fasimpaur reports for the Daily Yonder. Fasimpaur, who moved from Los Angeles to a rural town on the New Mexico/Arizona border, works in online community building, education and strategic planning for non-profits (Economist graphic)

One theory for the rise in deaths is that illegals are being coerced to cross in rural areas, where scorching desert conditions and rugged mountains make foot travel treacherous, Fasimpaur writes. "In 1994, the U.S. government explicitly adopted a policy of 'prevention through deterrence,' reallocating enforcement resources to urban centers in order to force border crossers to more rural and more dangerous parts of the border. Since that time, while the overall numbers crossing the border have decreased, the number of deaths relative to apprehensions has skyrocketed."

"At the most superficial level, the large number of unidentified remains creates significant work for local morgues and coroners’ offices," Fasimpaur writes. "Medical emergencies have also put strain on hospitals and first responders. Beyond this, the cost is sometimes a political one, splitting communities along ideological lines."

Meanwhile, there has been a "dramatic increase of border enforcement in recent years," Fasimpaur writes. "Opinions on the efficacy of these expenditures also vary. Many border residents believe this is essential to curtailing illegal border crossing, as well as human and drug trafficking. In addition, increases in Border Patrol numbers have brought many jobs to rural areas, not only in direct employment of agents, but in their contributions to local businesses, as well as the construction and operation of related detention facilities."

No comments: