USA Today – With about six weeks remaining in the Border Patrol’s fiscal year – and more Border Patrol agents patrolling than ever – 201 men, women and children have succumbed to the elements in Arizona.
In Pima County, which includes Tohono O’odham and Tucson, so many corpses are waiting to be identified, autopsied and returned to Mexico that the coroner is storing 60 of them in a refrigerator truck.
Arizona has emerged as ground zero in the nation’s debate over illegal immigration. Minutemen Project volunteers launched patrols this spring to stop border crossers, while humanitarian groups set up water stations and gave medical help to immigrants.
“Each of these individuals has dignity, and we need to recognize that,” says Beth Sanders of No More Deaths, a coalition of volunteers who cruise the back roads offering water and medical care. Another group, Humane Borders, posts maps on the Mexican side showing where deaths have occurred and warning in Spanish, “Don’t go. It’s not worth the suffering.”
But the incursion is relentless. Since Oct. 1, Border Patrol agents have caught more than 500,000 “undocumented aliens” in the agency’s Tucson and Yuma sectors, which include all of Arizona and a 16-mile stretch of California’s border. No one knows how many got through.
In the last week, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson declared an emergency in their states’ border counties, freeing up money for more law enforcement to combat crime and violence linked to illegal immigration.
My response to this so-called crisis? Who cares?
Feeling sorry for people who consciously place themselves in a perilous position while committing a crime don’t deserve our sympathy any more than drunk drivers who crash their vehicles and die deserve our sympathy.
Do I like that these people are dying in the desert? Of course not. But then again, I sure wish they’d all stop trying to force their way into this country too.
By Rob Port of Say Anything.