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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Sink or swim: UA research proves border enforcement wrong

    Here’s a question for the physics students: What happens when you partially block a raging river? Well, it will divert, of course.

    That is essentially the argument of the Binational Migration Institute. The Institute, a UA research center, recently found that the U.S. Border Patrol has grossly underestimated illegal immigrant deaths, sometimes by as much as 43 percent.

    Studying autopsy reports from the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office to gather its data, the Institute reached two conclusions – one self-apparent, the other rather startling.

    First, the UA researchers were able to establish that increased enforcement in certain border regions only “”funneled”” the waves of immigrants to harsher, more rural terrains (a somewhat obvious conclusion if one considers the “”raging river”” analogy). Their second conclusion follows logically: There has been a six-fold increase in illegal immigrant deaths along the southern Arizona border between 1990 and 2005.

    These figures should give pause to those who so rabidly (and irresponsibly) advocate increased border

    Illegal immigrants’ deaths are usually under the worst of conditions; their demise is often slow, painful and lonely.

    security. Indeed, they would do well to consider this latest research from the UA.

    Beyond the politics of the immigration debate, though, these latest figures should confirm in everyone’s mind that the situation is clearly a humanitarian crisis.

    Illegal immigrants are traversing the desert in 100-degree heat. They are especially vulnerable to heat stroke, exposure or even increasingly violent human smugglers. And illegal immigrants’ deaths are usually under the worst of conditions; their demise is often slow, painful and lonely.

    Illegal immigrants will continue to pour across the Arizona border so long as America offers attractive job prospects and Mexico remains mired in economic dysfunction. And it is virtually impossible to secure every acre of the 2,000-mile border that snakes from California to Texas.

    With the UA’s researchers already proving that slapdash enforcement only increases deaths (but doesn’t slow illegal immigration), the answer should be obvious: Create a legal guest-worker program that removes the elements of danger for both immigrants and overburdened Border Patrol agents.

    The status quo is simply untenable, and when the U.S. Senate takes up its comprehensive immigration reform in the months to come, it should consider the UA’s findings in its debate. The river is raging, and it’s time to do something other than stand in its way.

    Opinions Board

    Editorials are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Justyn Dillingham, Allison Hornick, Damion LeeNatali, Stan Molever, Nicole Santa Cruz and Matt Stone.

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