Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Razor Wire Added to Border Wall

Once again, the United States is choosing to escalate the militarization of the U.S./Mexico border region instead of working on the economic imbalances that fuel the migration of people looking for a way to provide sustenance for their families.
SAN DIEGO -- -- The U.S. Border Patrol is installing razor-sharp concertina wire atop border fencing between San Diego and Tijuana, marking a major shift in approach along a frequently violent stretch of the frontier.

The triple-strand wire, meant to keep smugglers from attacking agents, will stretch five miles when completed this summer -- the longest expanse of this type of wire ever used on the Southwest border.

Federal authorities in the past have avoided using fortifications with such negative symbolism. Hundreds of miles of barriers going up in other areas have had to meet "aesthetically pleasing" federal design standards.

Critics say the new approach is inhumane and could leave illegal immigrants bloodied.

Border officials in San Diego say it was necessary and already is proving effective.

Los Angeles Times
Yes, very effective indeed:

As you know, if you've been reading this site for the past few years, the graph comes from a 2007 policy brief and study (.pdf warning), authored by Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith, M. Melissa McCormick, Daniel Martinez & Inez Magdalena Duarte, through the University of Arizona's Binational Migration Institute. We know that the numbers of border deaths in the Tucson sector rose to even higher levels following the release of this landmark document - a 29% increase in 2006.

From the Tucson Citizen, September 2007:
While arrests of illegal immigrants have fallen, the number of people dying in the desert and along its roads is rising dramatically.

The official toll will be tallied next week for the federal fiscal year that ends Sunday.

Unofficially, county medical examiners put the count through Aug. 31 at 216, a 29 percent increase over the same period a year before. That may be because manpower on the border increased and more skeletal remains were found that were missed in previous years.

Even Border Patrol numbers, usually lower than the number of deaths counted by medical examiners, show that from Oct. 1, 2006, to Aug. 31 there were 14.2 percent more illegal immigrant deaths in the Tucson sector than in the entire previous fiscal year.

Tucson Citizen
So yes, the concertina wire usually found atop prison walls is going to be very effective when one chooses to forget that it will increase the "funnel effect" as outlined by the UA's study. San Diego may see a decrease in attempted crossings, but that just means more treacherous and dangerous paths through the Sonoran desert will be used.

The temperatures are already rising in Baja Arizona, triple digits over the past few days, and with it over the coming months we will learn of the hundreds of bodies and skeletal remains that will be found.

Effective? Sure - if you forget that these are human beings who have the audacity to look for work out of the utter depths of desperation. The U.S. would rather tell them to drop dead, though.