Friday, October 2, 2009

Report on Border Crossing Deaths Makes the Invisible Visible

Posted by Kevin Keenan, ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties September 30th, 2009 at 5:21 pm

So much of what human rights advocates do is try to make the invisible visible. The more marginal and vulnerable the victims and the more remote the geographic location, the harder it is to do.

That, in a nutshell, is the goal and challenge of the San Diego ACLU’s report on border crossing deaths, Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Deaths at the U.S. – Mexico Border, which was released today and is well reported by Spencer Hsu in The Washington Post. Filmmaker John Carlos Frey also uncovers the crisis at the border in his new documentary The 800 Mile Wall.

Marking the 15th anniversary of the misguided border strategy known as Operation Gatekeeper, the report makes visible the following:

  1. In the past 15 years, as many as 5,600 people have died.
  2. These deaths were anticipated in the design of the U.S. border strategy, which deliberately pushes migrants away from inhabited areas into harsh desert and mountainous terrains.
  3. The rate of deaths has increased despite the economic decline and a drop in migration.
  4. The number of rescues has decreased despite a massive increase in Border Patrol agents.

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