Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Another Migrant Graveyard

The Mediterranean has been the scene of thousands of deaths but less visibly the deserts of America has also been places of death. The US-Mexico border a formidable barrier with treacherous terrain and ubiquitous cameras, sensors, drones, and patrols,

The group No More Deaths said the US Border Patrol agency has engineered the death and disappearance of tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants by using the desert wilderness as a “weapon”. The report accused agents of hounding people to injury and death, and brutalising those they captured: “Mass death and disappearance are the inevitable outcomes of a border enforcement plan that uses the wilderness as a weapon.” Pursuit increases the risk of dehydration, heat stroke, exhaustion, injury and drowning, the report said. Agents chase and scatter border crossers across hostile terrain in a strategy that leaves many people injured, dead or lost, turning the US’s south-western frontier into a “vast graveyard of the missing”.

No More Deaths depicts the border as a gauntlet which often condemns would-be crossers to grim and uncertain fates. It said the policy was rooted in a 1994 Clinton-era Border Patrol strategy called “Prevention Through Deterrence” which sealed off urban entry points and funneled people to wilderness routes risking injury, dehydration, heat stroke, exhaustion, and hypothermia. Tens of thousands have gone missing since the 1990s, including 1,200 last year, it said. “If found, the disappeared turn up in detention centers, in morgues or skeletonized on the desert floor; many human remains are never identified. Thousands more are never located. With each passing day, another father, sister, aunt, brother, partner or child goes missing while attempting to cross the Southwest border.”

It accused the federal agency, which deploys about 18,000 agents on the 2,000-mile border with Mexico, of sabotaging humanitarian aid efforts and discriminating against undocumented people in emergency responses.

“The known disappearance of thousands of people in the remote wilderness of the US–Mexico border zone marks one of the great historical crimes of our day,” the group said

The Border Patrol estimates at least 6,000 have died since the 1990s. Other estimates are significantly higher with many bodies never found

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