Saturday, April 2, 2005

That other border

I don't really hear much about deaths along the US-Mexico border much around here, so I thought I'd post some information. INS crackdown in cities has forced immigrants to enter the US through long stretches of dessert, leading to a jump in deaths from Between 1994 and 2003 and estimated 2,600 undocumented migrants died crossing the border. There's a good review of the basic history from National Geographic. There's also a good discussion of the contributions that undocumented workers make to businesses called The Cost of Doing Nothing: The Need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. But in more recent news vigilante citizens groups supported by white supremecists now plan to patrol the border (see KRT Wire | 03/30/2005 | Bush administration unveils plan to expand border patrol initiative. The whole reasoning behind this is that it's a lot easier to patrol the border, forcing migrants into life-threatening situations, than it is to patrol our own country. There are fewer issues of rights violations, and corporations (who might be imposed upon if undocumented worker laws were enforced) have a lot more say over immigration policy than the undocumented workers themselves. The number of citations issued to employers of undocumented workers is dismal. So once again the US chooses to militarize the solution on foreign (or at least border) soil rather than dealing with the options in our own country.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Bush's immigration policy is one of the few parts of his policy agenda that I actually support. Although not comprehensive enough in scope, it is a good start, but it's too bad that he has tons of opposition in his party (and it does not seem like he wants to spend his political capital on immigration).

Fixing immigration laws and bringing undocumented workers not only would allow them better working conditions and protection from the law, but would also drastically improve the public health of our country. Undocumented workers do not seek healthcare as often, for fear of deportation and for lack of availability, and many infectious diseases (such as TB and Hansen's/leprosy) have pretty high rates in undocumented workers. This is scary in light of recent laws (such as in AZ) that look to limit services to undocumented citizens, including health care services. Diseases know no boundaries, and this is another reason (besides the humanistic reasons) to demand better immigration reform.