--> Letter from a reader: Alarming Rise in Immigrant Deaths on the Border Under the Trump/Pence Regime

Letter from a reader:

Alarming Rise in Immigrant Deaths on the Border Under the Trump/Pence Regime

August 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


In the first seven months of this year, 239 people died attempting to cross the border from Mexico into the U.S., according to a report by the International Organization for Migration. This is a 17 percent increase over the same period in 2016. The IOM says the number of deaths is likely an underestimation because people are dying in such remote areas—like the Arizona desert—that their bodies have not yet been found. What makes these figures even more alarming is that the U.S. Border Patrol arrested 50 percent fewer people during that same period this year compared to last year—indicating that fewer immigrants are trying to cross the border. In other words, the proportion of immigrants who lose their lives trying to get into the U.S. has risen significantly.

The biggest increase in deaths has been along the southeast border between Mexico and Texas along the Rio Grande. In less than a week at the end of July, five bodies were recovered of people who had drowned attempting to cross the Rio Grande. The IOM report states, “The most recent incident recorded on the border region was the death of a five-year-old child migrant drowned in the Río Grande near Tamaulipas, Mexico [far-eastern border area] on Wednesday [August 2]. Reports indicate that the child’s father also went missing during the river crossing.”

There has also been an increase in deaths in the Sonoran Desert—the border area between Arizona and Mexico.

The Trump/Pence regime has been going all-out to further militarize the border. The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agency under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been given more power to lock down the border and to viciously go after anyone attempting to cross—people Trump has labeled as “rapists” and “drug criminals.” The Trump/Pence regime has also broadened the definition of “criminal aliens” to cover people whose only “crime” is to have crossed the border without documents, fleeing from extreme poverty and reactionary violence.

The border deaths include outright murder at the hands of Border Patrol pigs. But the bulk of the deaths is the result of immigrants being stranded in the scorching hot desert along the border or drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande.

Trump’s DHS has locked down all of the normally used paths across the border, forcing those who want to cross to attempt their crossings in the most dangerous and desolate places along the border—the Rio Grande, which has been raging with the torrential rains this year, and the Sonoran Desert with summer temperatures averaging between 110 and 120 degrees. This is murder! Immigrant rights groups say that the Border Patrol uses the desert as a “weapon” to kill immigrants.

People are so desperate to escape the poverty and violence in their countries south of the U.S. that they will risk everything to cross the border into a country that will demonize them, ban them, detain them, deport them, and tear them away from their children and loved ones. The reason? Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, spoke powerfully to this:

Now I can just hear these reactionary fools saying, “Well, Bob, answer me this. If this country is so terrible, why do people come here from all over the world? Why are so many people trying to get in, not get out?”...Why? I’ll tell you why. Because you have fucked up the rest of the world even worse than what you have done in this country. You have made it impossible for many people to live in their own countries as part of gaining your riches and power. –BAsics 1:14

In order to make it more difficult for the migrants to survive their treacherous trip, the Border Patrol has started attacking aid stations in the desert set up by people to provide shelter and water to immigrants. In mid-June, 30 Border Patrol pigs in 15 vehicles and a helicopter descended on a humanitarian aid camp located in Arizona 15 miles from the border and arrested four migrants.

No More Deaths, a migrant support group that mans some of these aid camps, said this raid put lives at risk because it will lead immigrants, fearing capture, to avoid the aid stations. One activist said, “It turns a humanitarian aid station into a trap.... Our camp is 100% compromised right now.”

No More Deaths attributed the raid to “the hardline immigration stance adopted by the Trump administration” and that it “broke a longstanding agreement that border agents would respect the camp as a medical facility under international Red Cross standards and not interfere with its work.” They said, “The targeting of this critical medical aid is a shameful reflection of the current administration’s disregard for the lives of migrants and refugees, making an already dangerous journey even more deadly...”

This nightmare on the border is one of many nightmares under the Trump/Pence regime that call for people to take up the call from Refuse Fascism for people around the country, on November 4, to take to the streets and public squares day after day and night after night until the demand is met: “NO! This Nightmare Must End! The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!”

All out for the August 19 regional conferences to organize for November 4.

In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!



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