Border Crossing Deaths More Common As Illegal Immigration Declines

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...

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