This is the new blog...CONFESSION ZERO


"Funnel Effect" creates humanitarian emergency on U.S. border

Caption: Memorial at U.S. Port of Entry, Columbus, NM "In memory of the immigrants who died in the desert, seeking a dream."

"Their deaths are systematic and they're the results of a policy. And it's not just a few. It's thousands." John Carlos Frey, Filmmaker

It happened again this month. And it's happening with increasing frequency.

Volunteers on humanitarian patrol in the desert discovered the body of a deceased migrant. The unidentified person-- the body too decomposed to determine even the gender --had been dead for at least six or seven months, officials estimated.It lay in a shallow grave, partially covered in small rocks, adorned with a hand-made cross.


Some 6,000 people have died crossing the Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California borders with Mexico since 1994, say human-rights groups.

About 500 more die every year.

More than 61 bodies of unauthorized migrants have been recovered in southern Arizona alone in the four deadly months of October 2009 through January 2010, according to Tucson's CoaliciĆ³n de Derechos Humanos. They carefully document each one in an attempt to report the human cost of failed U.S. border and immigration policies.

This year's total shows a 36% increase over the same period last year, says the group.

Migrants are increasingly funneled into the most isolated and desolate terrain of the Arizona-Sonora desert border, resulting in the recovery of more and more skeletal remains. This "Funnel Effect," as the Binational Migration Institute terms it, occurs when traditional, less dangerous, crossing points are sealed.

As people are pushed into increasingly treacherous areas, rescue and detection is less likely and the likelihood of death becomes more certain. It is Russian roulette played with a desert environment.

Filmmaker John Carlos Frey, in his new documentary "The 800 Mile Wall," puts the responsibility squarely on U.S. policy for what he terms "an atrocity."

Because counts of human remains recovered in states neighboring Arizona aren't available, activists say that no one knows precisely the full extent of the present crisis. Frey says some estimate the death toll could be 20,000.

The area known as the Tucson Sector, a particularly dangerous stretch of the border, reaps a large share [40%] of the deaths. The Border Patrol apprehended over a quarter million migrants here during the 2009 fiscal year. During that time the remains of 213 persons were recovered. Activists condemn that death rate of 88.2% per 100,000 apprehensions as unacceptable.

Arizona groups call on the U.S. to address the humanitarian emergency along the U.S./Mexico border. Comprehensive reform of U.S. immigration law will right the wrong. It would allow laborers to enter the U.S. with dignity and safety. And it would, in turn, also provide security to the U.S. by allowing the nation to screen potential entrants.

To rely simply on border enforcement policies hands out more and more death sentences in the desert.

"Men, women and children continue to perish on our border, communities cry out for justice, and yet nothing has been done to address the policies that have pushed migrants into the deadly Arizona terrain" laments Kat Rodriguez, Coordinator of Derechos Humanos. "We truly are in the midst of a devastating human rights crisis."

Of the individual discovered in the desert earlier this month, the co-founder of No More Deaths stated:
"Even one death in our deserts represents a tragedy and a failure of the government to uphold human rights. We hope that others will join us in working and praying for change." - Rev. Gene Lefebvre
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