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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Guest Column: No More Deaths

An obsessive focus on one important but not isolated issue is a serious mistake, especially for those who seek human compassion while — wittingly or unwittingly — turning a blind eye to mass death and suffering as a result of failed U.S. immigration policy.

No More Deaths/No Más Muertes is not solely about leaving food and water in the desert. Humanitarian aid to help save the lives of migrants dying in the Sonoran Desert is merely one of several operative components of the organization. The fundamental purpose of the group is to end death and suffering on the U.S./Mexico border through “”civil initiative: the conviction that people of conscience must work openly and in community to uphold fundamental human rights,”” quoting the organization’s founding principles.

Among the most egregious effects of U.S. border enforcement policy is the massive complex of violent, militarized infrastructure along the border which, as a matter of intended policy, forcibly “”reroutes”” human migration “”away from urban areas toward geographically isolated areas”” in order to establish “”tactical advantage”” over human beings, according to a May 2008 Congressional Research Service report.

The American Civil Liberties Union’s October 2009 report “”Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Deaths at the U.S./Mexico Border”” reveals the miserable facts of the more than 5,000 deaths since the U.S. implemented military programs along the major points of traditional entry into the United States.

It should be noted that the ACLU report emphasized and expanded many points of the 2008 report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, which concluded that “”the United States lacks a clear, consistent, long-term strategy to improve respect for the human rights of migrants”” and “”has failed to adhere to its international obligations to make the human rights of the 37.5 million migrants living in the country a national priority.””

Therefore, if the author of the column “”Water in desert doesn’t solve larger issues”” were indeed against leaving people “”to die a painful dehydration-induced death,”” he would do well to join with others in enacting everything possible to pressure our government to stop providing the means that create and perpetuate those deaths.

It is not a difficult task to see that since deadly border policy has been the focus of time and resources within U.S. national policy, mass destruction of human life has ensued.

At the beginnings of U.S. border militarization, in 1994, 14 people died in the desert. By 2000, human deaths increased to 90, then 145 in 2001, to more than 163 in 2002.

In Nation magazine the next year, Bob Moser reported a rare public criticism from within the government, from retired Tucson Border Patrol sector chief Ron Sanders: “”‘By every measure, the strategy (of deterrence) is a failure. All it’s accomplished is killing people.'””

Seven years and thousands of deaths later, the nightmare of failed U.S. immigration and border enforcement policy pollutes the lives of everyone it touches, regardless of immigration status.

No More Deaths understands that food, water or bandages alone will not stop deaths in the desert and repair the warped wheels of injustice. We must change the way we view and talk about things, shifting our conversations and focuses away from empty and distracting phrases like “”security”” to embrace the real issues here of public health, human rights and humane economic relationships with fellow societies.


— ­­­­UA No More Deaths: Melissa Aparicio, Syrena Arevalo, Maya Bernal, Jennifer Contreras, Ramsey Coronado, Daniel Curiel, Robert B. James, Molly Kinkaid, Tiffany Mendibles-Escobar, Brenda Munoz, Ramon Munoz, Pricila Rodriguez and Gabriel Matthew Schivone. The group meets every Monday at 3 p.m. in Chavez Room 211.

— UA Movimiento Estudantil de Chican@ Aztlan (M.E.Ch.A) meets every Tuesday at 4 p.m. in Chavez Room 211.

— UA La Raza Studies’ Social Justice Education Project (SJEP): Fonz Chavez, Audra McKinney, Jacob Robles, Nax Veja and Luis Valdez. SJEP meets every Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in Chavez Room 204.


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