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29 July 2010

Exaggerated Problems at the Border and Its Pernicious Consequences

Here's a timely piece from the NYTimes to put all the abstract immigration debate into perspective:

The Pima County morgue is running out of space as the number of Latin American immigrants found dead in the deserts around Tucson has soared this year during a heat wave….[T]he law has not kept the immigrants from trying to cross hundreds of miles of desert on foot in record-breaking heat. The bodies of 57 border crossers have been brought in during July so far, putting it on track to be the worst month for such deaths in the last five years….Since the first of the year, more than 150 people suspected of being illegal immigrants have been found dead, well above the 107 discovered during the same period in each of the last two years….The increase in deaths has happened despite many signs that the number of immigrants crossing the border illegally has dropped in recent years. The number of people caught trying to sneak across the frontier without a visa has fallen in each of the last five years and stands at about half of the record 616,000 arrested in 2000…[my emphasis].These tougher enforcement measures have pushed smugglers and illegal immigrants to take their chances on isolated trails through the deserts and mountains of southern Arizona, where they must sometimes walk for three or four days before reaching a road.

These dead folks are not al Qaeda; they're not murderers and rapists; they are poor Mexicans looking for work so that they can feed their families. These are the people who keep your produce cheap and the construction costs on your new home low. These rotting carcasses are the wages of our misplaced ire over immigration.

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