A first hand account of trip to the Arizona border with Mexico. Published by Vice.com
The hundreds who die annually are those who get lost, run out of water and food, and become ill when they drink from toxic cow ponds. Coalición de Derechos Humanos, a grassroots organization resisting border militarization, has estimated 2,464 deaths in Arizona since 2000. Some of them are children, such as Josseline Jamileth Hernández, a 14-year-old Guatemalan girl whose remains were found by No More Deaths volunteer Dan Millis. When captured, migrants face harsh detentions conditions, and are then repatriated into border towns where they have little ability to subsist, making them prey for robbery or rape. It is unclear if these horrors serve as a deterrent, as intended, or if the slumping U.S. economy is more to blame for lower immigration rates. Either way, the annual death rate has remained in the 150-250 range for over ten years. Even though much of the Sonoran boundary remains only a small cattle fence or vehicle barrier, to hop it is only the beginning. Migrants trek for days or weeks trying to make their way to a road north of two stationary checkpoints. Even then, anyone stopped or pulled over in this range can have their citizenship verified at the officer’s discretion. In this area, especially the barrios of South Tucson, the notorious “papers, please” legislation SB1070 has always been a redundancy.