The flow of immigrants has decreased at the American border with the strengthening of controls. But the paths taken are more dangerous. Result: deaths soar.
This year the state of Arizona was put in the spotlight by
passing America’s toughest immigration law
clandestine [fin juillet, un juge fédéral a suspendu certaines des dispositions
les plus controversées]. Eric Peters, Pima County Medical Examiner,
backing onto the Mexican border, therefore did not expect to see an increase in the
immigrants who died crossing the desert, but despite the
legislation and an unfavorable economy, the American dream continues to encourage
the daring to cross the border. And many let their lives there.
In 2007, 218 corpses were found in the county,
sinister record and, this year, the toll could be even heavier
since the authorities have already found 170. During the month of July alone,
59 bodies were discovered. Dehydration is the main cause of
these deaths. On July 15, the worst day of the month, 7 corpses were
found, including that of Omar Luna Velasquez, a young man of 25. This
that day, the temperature reached 42 ° C. To deal with this
massacre, a 15-meter refrigerated semi-trailer was parked at
near the police office. More than 66% of the bodies discovered have
could be identified. Some are reduced to the state of skeletons, others have
been mummified by the sun. Of the seven bodies found on July 15, only
that of Omar Luna Velasquez has been identified.
Pima County Forensic Pathologists Work Closely
with the Mexican consulate to try to name the victims and
contact their relatives. During the 1990s, the discovery of
corpses along the US-Mexico border were rather rare. But
since 2000, their number has grown considerably. Strengthening the
surveillance in California resulted in the displacement of passageways
to the east, in one of the most isolated and inhospitable areas of
Arizona. It is possible that the exceptional heatwave, even in this state
desert, has contributed to the increase in the number of deaths this year.
Paradoxically, despite this upsurge in the county of
Pima, it seems that illegal immigration is slowing down. In 2009, the
arrests at the border fell 61% from 2000. This
194,000 people were arrested a year, 5% less
than at the same time last year. According to humanitarian organizations,
the increased presence of police at the border simply means that people
take more dangerous roads to enter the territory
American. To help migrants survive in the desert, the association
Humane Borders has installed 100 water stations in Arizona.
At the wheel of a white truck driving on sandy tracks,
volunteer Lance Leslie is doing the tour to check the water level in
several of these stations. “People have been using this passage for
years ”, he explains after filling in
a 200 liter blue barrel. “I am sure these barrels have
save lives.” No doubt, but they have
not saved that of Omar Luna Velasquez, the young man of 25 years found
in the desert on July 15. His family buried him recently in Mexico City.
Nicole Santa Cruz
The crisis drives out the undocumented
Nearly 1 million illegal immigrants left the United States between March 2007 and March 2009, according to a study published in early September. The Pew Hispanic Center, author of this survey, estimates that their total number has risen from 12 million to 11.1 million. Florida, New York State and Arizona are said to have recorded the highest number of departures. A labor market in crisis and the strengthening of control measures would be at the origin of this phenomenon, explains The Christian Science Monitor. In Texas, a state where the economic slowdown is less severe, the number of illegal immigrants has been maintained. Undocumented migrants today form 5.1% of the working population in the United States. A poll conducted in August also indicates that immigration is a “Very important stake” for 60% of Americans.
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