The Border Safety Initiative

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryFor all the criticisms I may have about how the U.S. Border Patrol conducts itself, and for all the stupidity U.S. immigration as a whole may commit, there is one important service they do. This service is to not only look for undocumented, but also to save the lives of those stranded in the remote, arid desert regions along the U.S.-Mexico border. Every year, many nationals from Mexico, the Central American countries, and even as far away as China, are found dead in the U.S. deserts. They were never given much in the way of food or water to cross hundreds of miles of arid land, and the smugglers (known as “coyotes”) could have cared less for the lives of the people they were trying to smuggle. Since the river border areas and major urban centers along the borders are too well guarded, many undocumented have tried to go through remote, virtually uninhabited areas.

Because of this, the U.S. government and the Mexican government are trying through TV and radio advertisings to explain the dangers of crossing these remote, almost uninhabited areas and why it is too risky. While I might understand why people leave their country of origin, the journey to leave may be far, far worse than staying. And the dangers are real. One advertising showed an interview with a Guatemalan boy who turned himself in rather than die and add to all of the corpses he saw on the smugglers’ trails. Another advertising showed an interview of a Mexican man who said that thieves robbed undocumented before they crossed from Mexico into the U.S. Sadly, these stories are all true. Many of those undocumented who try to come to the United States comes from southern Mexico where the weather and the climate are tropical.

Crossing a desert is a whole different scenario. I have seen the deserts in southern Texas. Besides the arid mountains and the desert in front of it all, the temperature can drop from 85 F to 30 F at night. Then there are the dangers of crossing in pitch black darkness, of poisonous animals like snakes, scorpions and spiders (especially black widow spiders. I saw too many of them in southern Texas), and being attacked and robbed or killed. A person can easily suffer from malnutrition and dehydration within hours in the desert. Some people are lucky and are rescued by the U.S. Border Patrol. Many others are not so lucky. They end up and little more than corpses, and in many cases dismembered corpses because wild animals eat them. Whatever I may think of people who try to get into the United States by any way they can, I personally hope that the message that it is just too plain dangerous and risky trying to cross through the U.S.-Mexico border gets through. These TV and radio messages may make the difference between life and death for thousands of people who could never suspect what they may be getting into.

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