Border Deaths, Apathy, and Complicity.


In 2010, 17o souls have left this earth in a nightmarish fashion–the life leaking  out of them as they lay in the unforgiving heat of the Southwestern U.S./Mexico desert.

When an  individual dies from unnatural causes, one generally puts an effort forward to ascertain what, or who, was responsible for that individual’s death. There is not just one factor that led to the deaths of the 17o in the desert; there are several.

Obviously, if the migrants who died did not attempt to cross the border, they would not have died how they did. But to leave it at that is too superificial of an analysis.

The reason for increased deaths this year is explained by the LA times:

Increased border enforcement in California moved migration routes east into some of Arizona’s most remote and inhospitable terrain. Unusually hot weather, even by Arizona standards, also may be contributing to the large number of deaths this year.

Thus, it would appear the increase in rates of deaths of individuals crossing the border can be partially attributed to unusual climate patterns. But forget the “increase”, and think about the causes of the deaths in the first place: an immigration system that has insufficient means for individuals to migrate here legally, thus encouraging those that want to migrate here to come here through the desert.

As the legal migration opportunities have remained stagnant, the United States has and continues to ramp up border security, thus further endangering the illegal route for migrants. Republicans and Democrats are both responsible. The Republicans more so.

Recently, a $600 million boost to border security, was spearheaded by none other than democrat Chuck Schumer, thus likely pushing potential migrants to more and more dangerous routes to cross.

One can be against  “illegal immigration”, but to be so against it as to be a contributing factor to the death of one’s fellow human being is unacceptable. And too many in the United States are that much against illegal immigration. Our politicians more than anyone, given the rationale for the unending enforcement rhetoric.

The Rationale

To the average American, border enforcement as a distinct notion likely seems logical. Keep out drugs, terrorists, illegal immigrants, etc. Contrarily, the notion of how to address the U.S.’s whole immigration problem cannot be viewed in a model of simplicity because it is a problem of the seemingly  intractable variety. In other words, not even the most esteemed expert on immigration has any convenient solution. Immigration to the United States, as well as to Europe,  is akin to an existential crisis–as long as those in the United States live with such disproportionate wealth to those to the South, illegal immigration will continue. But one will rarely hear an elected official seriously address the latter problem. At best, the political leaders for comprehensive immigration reform acknowledge the need for increased legal immigration but go no further than that.

Ideally, an elected official will address a problem  in the following manner: “analyze  all of the evidence presented and make a decision to comport with what the evidence shows is best for those they represent”. In reality, an elected official does something very different: “analyze the polls, decide which position taken will give be best for their election or re-election, then look at the evidence presented, and ultimately make a decision highly diluted to what is actually best for the public.”

Thus is the tale of immigration policy in the United States. Border enforcement language appeals to more potential voters(even to those that are in favor of comprehensive immigration reform) than the convoluted alternative of a genuine comprehensive approach. Put differently, it’s far easier to relate to a two tiered problem-solution framework(border enforcement) than it is to a multi-tiered one with no clear done and done structure.(comprehensive immigration reform).

The intrinsically corrupt practice of candidates to become an elected official in the U.S. has left us battered with the relentless sound bites of “the border must be secure” from both Democrats and Republicans,  as we stand witness–in the concrete form of avoidable deaths–to the consequences inaction.

But the Republicans deserve special condemnation, for they have gleefully taken the issue of immigration in such a headlong rhetorical fashion as to undercut the ability of many Americans to feel any compassion for fellow humans. The “No amnesty” slogan brings with it dehumanization. It implies that even under the most  compelling evidence of the prudence for providing legalization to those here “illegally”, it cannot be done because the “illegals” have committed a crime so heinous that they cannot be forgiven under any circumstances.

Migrating to the U.S. without authorization is not a heinous crime. Outside of the world of nations and sovereignty, it is simply an act of physically moving from one part of the world to another.

If more politicians led more with what is best for the people, not with what the people think is best (quite erroneously at times since anyone can form an opinion on anything without conducting any sort of due diligence), then perhaps less would have unjustifiably lost their lives in our desert this year.


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