The discovery of record numbers of bodies along the Tucson sector of the US-Mexico border suggests that border crossings for illegal immigrants are becoming deadlier as heightened security forces migrants into remoter and more forbidding areas.
In fiscal 2010, which ended Sept. 30, authorities reported fewer border crossings overall. But the 252 bodies recovered surpassed the previous record of 237 in fiscal 2007.
“People go through areas that are harsher, where a lot of people are getting hurt and dying,” says Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith, coordinator of the University of Arizona’s Binational Migration Institute.
A record-breaking heat wave last summer could also have played a role. Moreover, there are more border patrol agents on the ground, and some of these agents patrol more isolated spots, increasing the likelihood of finding bodies, Ms. Rubio-Goldsmith says.
Because the border is fortified with manpower and high-tech surveillance, smugglers do whatever it takes to get their human cargo into the country and collect profits – including going into far-flung regions. There, they sometimes abandon sick or weary border-crossers who can’t keep up with a group, says Colleen Agle, a border patrol agent in the Tucson sector, which covers most of the Arizona international line.
Why is this happening? It probably is a combination of factors. There was a huge heat wave this year in Arizona. People are going to more dangerous parts of the border, in order to get around the patrols. Patrols are going into these more dangerous areas more often than before and are finding bodies that may have been there a while but were in too remote of an area to have been found previously. Plus, coyotes are being more aggressive in their tactics in getting these people across the border as fast as they can, in order to make as much money as possible.
Many amnesty activists will use this as an example of how “cruel” our immigration laws are. However, what they don’t understand is that making them more lax would only make things worse, in the long run. With the drug war intensifying just across the Mexican border, we need to keep things tight on the border, so that the cartels won’t bring the war onto this side of the border.
We still need to protect our borders, though, to keep people that do intend to inflict harm on our citizens out, like terrorists and violent criminals. We must know who is coming into our country, in order to be able to protect all Americans.
What is needed is an easier way for people to come into this country legally. There needs to be less red tape and less waiting time needed before people can come into the US without jeopardizing our immigration officials’ ability to vet and run checks on these potential immigrants. If a legal path to immigration is made easier, then, people will feel less of a need to cross the border illegally, and less people will have to risk their lives to come to America to live the American dream.