Thursday, July 10, 2008

More Bodies Found Along La Frontera

David Teibel of the Tucson Citizen has done southern Arizona and the global community a great service by providing an update on the growing body count of border crossers along la frontera. 109 by their count, 128 by Derechos Humanos for the current fiscal year. While heads explode among the trolls in the comments sections ("they asked for it" and "good riddance" is common), these types of news items should be featured regularly in traditional and non-traditional media sources.

Teibel's article today deserves mentioning because he did not do the journalistic lazy move by juxtaposing drug bust incidents with this separate facet of border news. It is solely about the human rights crisis that unfolds and grows year after year in the Sonoran Desert. The fact is, the vast majority of crossers are economic refugees; but due to fork-tongued pundits like Lou Dobbs, Tom Tancredo, the Minutemen vigilantes, and lazy journalists, the perception of border crossers usually involves shading their identities with drug runners and terrorists.

It's all part of the cycle of dehumanization that makes it convenient for government personnel to treat human beings with less dignity than animals. This does not just pertain to border crossers, but rather any person in the United States who finds themselves lacking the paperwork necessary to earn money for their families. A recent example is the workplace raid that occurred at a meat-packing plant in Postville, Iowa. Dr. Erik Camayd-Freixas who was one of the federally certified interpreters assigned to assist the workers has shared his story with The Sanctuary and it will be posted following a New York Times article that is slated for Friday. The link to the entry will be here.

The human aspect of the broken immigration system is an inconvenience to those who salivate at the continued practice of Operation Wetback 2008, where any undocumented worker is deported without a blink of an eye. Never mind children or spouses who may be citizens, they are merely collateral damage to a populace that is so fixated on war that they see enemies even among those who have the audacity to simply work. Even lower on the "why should I be bothered" list, are the walkers who head to El Norte from all across the world.
Increasingly alarming are the high number of unidentified human remains recovered. Of the 35 female remains recovered, 21 are still unidentified, and 51 of the 86 males have yet to be identified. All in all, 72 of the 128 remains recovered are unidentified, and not enough of the remains of six of these individuals were recovered to even determine gender; this speaks to the anguish that family members suffer as they wait to hear of their loved ones, and the reality that some might never know what became of them.

While the Border Patrol continues to applaud their efforts to control the border, men, women and children are pushed into more harsh, isolated areas, where humanitarian aid and detection is less likely. This is, in fact, an intentional strategy that has proven deadly as more than 5,000 men, women and children have died on the U.S.-México border. And through this, there is no evidence that these militarization efforts have done anything to affect the numbers of people crossing the border.

Coalición de Derechos Humanos (.pdf warning)
Imagine the outrage if numbers like this were stacked up among U.S.-born Americans.

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