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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Mexican consulate seeks to prevent migrant deaths

As temperatures soar into the triple digits, undocumented immigrants continue to risk their lives crossing the desert in hopes of reaching the United States. Some of them die in their desperate attempts.

Seeking to prevent illegal immigrants from losing their lives or freedom, the Mexico Consulate in Yuma has started its Preventive Protection Campaign 2011.

The annual campaign’s aim is to discourage “”undocumented people from crossing the desert and to alert all migrants about the dangers they face in their attempt to enter into the United States through this border, especially with the climate,”” said Larissa Jimenez-Reynoso of the consulate’s Department of Assistance and Protection for Mexicans.

“”If it’s difficult for us who live on the border to perform our daily activities and we are used to this weather, for the migrant population, who mainly come from the central and southern states of Mexico, it will be even more difficult,”” Jimenez-Reynoso said.

According to the consulate, the apprehension of illegal immigrants has declined while migrant deaths in the Arizona desert are increasing.

“”One reason is that the flow has shifted and migrants are walking through very dangerous areas to prevent being found by Border Patrol,”” Jimenez-Reynoso said.

She noted that illegal immigrants are often abandoned by smugglers, known as “”coyotes,”” who never explain the difficulties of the journey.

She said it’s not unusual for them to walk up to 80 miles and take three to four days to arrive to their destinations, sometimes without food and water.

The consulate is also using the campaign to let migrants know about the risks they face if they are detained by immigration authorities, such as separation from their families and imprisonment for several days, months and even years.

“”We consider it equally important to talk about the legal consequences that a person may face, whether or not they are a minor, for attempting to introduce illegal substances,”” Jimenez-Reynoso said.

She noted that it is becoming more common for traffickers to deceive and use children for smuggling drugs. “”So far this year we have documented nine cases of children who face charges related to drug trafficking.””

The consulate is reminding migrants that if they are detained, they could be imprisoned for up to six months due to a U.S. immigration program called Streamline.

To meet the campaign objectives, the consulate has developed a series of printed materials, including brochures and posters, to be distributed along the border from San Luis Rio Colorado to Sonoyta, Mexico, and Los Algodones, Baja Calif. Materials will also be distributed in areas such as bus stations, shelters, public areas and at Mexican highway checkpoints.

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