Welcome to Casa Segura/Bienvenidos a Casa Segura...

I don't want to go on being just a root in the shadows,
vacillating, extended, shivering with dream,
down in the damp bowels of earth,
absorbing it, thinking it, eating it every day.

-Pablo Neruda from 'Walking Around'

Border issues in the news...

'Death map' of deserts aims to save lives of desperate Mexican migrants

A tatty blanket hanging over a barbed-wire fence is a tell-tale sign that a group of migrants has recently passed by. It's a mild find: over the past decade, more than 2,000 corpses, often desiccated, with the bones scattered by animals, have been recovered from this area of the Sonoran desert, where daytime temperatures can reach 54C and even the vegetation is painfully hostile.

The true number of deaths may be far higher, says Betzi Younglas, a volunteer with Humane Borders, as she steers her truck loaded with 1,100 litres of water down a rutted track through a forest of huge saguaro cacti. Humane Borders is one of several groups working to reduce the number of migrant deaths. Yet even as the numbers of Mexican – and increasingly Central American – migrants attempting the hazardous crossing appears to have declined, the number who die trying remains troublingly consistent.The crossing to America is simply becoming more dangerous.

Continue reading this article by Edward Helmore at the Guardian

Border Crossing Deaths More Common As Illegal Immigration Declines

The number of people attempting to illegally cross the U.S-Mexico border has plummeted, but the number of migrants dying during the trek through the mostly desert region has not.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection continues its efforts to secure the border and prevent deaths in the area, Border Patrol officials said. But, while the number of border crossings has declined dramatically in the last five years, the number of deaths has not decreased at the same pace. Human rights organizations attribute the problem to the increased militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border and the absence of government policy addressing the social and economic motivations that prompt migrants to continue to cross, despite the dangers.

"We never thought that we'd be in the business of helping to identify remains like in a war zone, and here we are," said Isabel Garcia, co-chair and founder of the Tucson-based Coalición de Derechos Humanos.

While the precise number of individuals crossing the U.S.-Mexico border without authorization is impossible to tally, Border Patrol’s apprehensions and death data offer the most accurate picture available. Each year the CBP reports the number of bodies found along the Southwest border and the number of migrants that agents bring into custody.

In fiscal year 2011, 327,577 migrants attempted to cross the border illegally, down from 858,638 in FY 2007 -- a nearly 62 percent drop. A closer look at the numbers reveals that although illegal border traffic has slowed and deaths have slightly declined, the proportion of border crossing fatalities to border crossing apprehensions has continued to rise.

In FY 2011, Border Patrol found 368 people dead, compared to 398 in FY 2007. The number of deaths to live interceptions rose to just over 0.11 percent in FY 2011 compared to some 0.05 percent in FY 2007. While the numbers may seem small, they indicate that illegal border crossings have become less common, but more dangerous.

Continue to the entire article by Carolina Moreno on the Huffington Post

Casa segura en Arizona

A terrific piece by Lorenzo Rocha in Milenio online:

Thank you!

Hacked Arizona Police Document Contradicts McCain and Brewer's Border Violence Claims

NEW YORK — A trove of internal Arizona state police documents released by a hacker group last week contains a confidential federal report that contradicts claims by Arizona politicians, including Gov. Jan Brewer and Sen. John McCain, that violence tied to drug trafficking and illegal immigration from Mexico is on the rise in the state.

Throughout 2010, Brewer claimed that cartel-related violence was increasingly spilling over into Arizona cities and towns. Most infamously, she stated that Arizona law enforcement had found bodies decapitated by cartels in the Arizona desert.

"We cannot afford all this illegal immigration and everything that comes with it, everything from the crime and the drugs and the kidnappings and the extortion and the beheadings and the fact that people can't feel safe in their community," Brewer told Fox News in June 2010.

Brewer retracted the claim about beheadings after it was questioned by southern Arizona police and coroners. But she continues to maintain that a rising tide of violence is spilling into the state from the increasingly bloody situation in Mexico.

Brewer has repeatedly raised the specter of cross-border violence as justification for the state's controversial immigration law, SB 1070, which requires local police to demand immigration documents from those they suspect of being in the country illegally.

"We cannot delay while the destruction happening south of our international border creeps its way north," Brewer said before signing the bill last year.

Sen. John McCain has made similar claims about border violence.

"I am gravely concerned with the continued and apparently growing violence along our border with Mexico," he wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano last March.

"The federal government must do all it can within its power to curb this violence and protect its citizens from criminals coming across the border from Mexico," he said.

Yet the hacked report, by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis, finds no signs that significant violence in Mexico is spilling across the border into Arizona.

Continue reading the entire article here: Huffington Post

The battle of the US-Mexico frontier

Charlie Bruce was a Texas police chief of the old school. In more than four decades on the force he gave homegrown criminals good reason to steer clear of Del Rio, his small town on the United States's southern border, but held no grudge against the steady flow of Mexicans across the frontier in search of opportunity. He admired them for their hard work and the chances they took to better themselves. Besides, some of them built his house.

What happened on the other side of the border, in Mexico, was another matter. There, Bruce unashamedly admits that for years he used his authority as a Texan police officer to run a lucrative smuggling racket. Mostly he dealt in duty-free whisky and cigarettes shipped in to Mexico, bribing officials with tens of thousands of dollars a time to avoid taxes, and then promptly selling the contraband on to Americans who brought it back across the border.

Occasionally Bruce branched out. He laughs when he recalls the handsome profit made from exploiting a sugar shortage in the 70s by paying off an official to illegally sell him a stock of subsidised sugar sitting in a Mexican government warehouse, which he shipped to a pie-maker in Philadelphia.

Now 75 and retired to a new house a stone's throw from the border, he recounts his years as a smuggler with undisguised pride and admits that it was all made possible by being a police officer. "That's exactly why I got by with it, because I was well known over there. My shield was law enforcement. I got by with murder more than other people," he says. "Other people may think it's wrong but the border's its own world."

Read the entire article by
Chris McGreal in the Gaurdian.

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