Monday, February 25, 2008
My dream ended on the Border.
Since 1994, more than 5,000 Mexicans have perished in their attempts to cross the border. For some the Humanitarian help came on time for others was too late.
Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission said more than 5,000 migrants have died trying to cross the border into the United States over the past 13 years. During a meeting with representatives of U.S. and Mexican non-governmental organizations in the border city of Tijuana, commission chairman Jose Luis Soberanes demanded that officials in both countries take responsibility for the deaths.
“A minimal form of justice for the emigrants who fell on the border is to at least acknowledge their deaths. The governments of Mexico and the United States should accept that responsibility,” Soberanes said.
The commission chairman said Mexico should take such a step “for being incapable of providing better opportunities for maintenance and development to the Mexicans who emigrate,” while the United States should do so “because emigrants take increasingly greater risks to life due to its policy of containment.”
“No more violence! Not one more death in the border region!” Soberanes said at the meeting with representatives of Humane Borders, the Coalicion Pro Defensa del Emigrante, American Civil Liberties Union and Angeles de la Frontera.
The rights commission chief warned that the number of emigrants killed while trying to cross the border could top 500 this year and criticized the U.S. Border Patrol.
“We come to demand justice for the emigrants persecuted by Border Patrol agents, those who are harassed and treated like criminals,” Soberanes said.
“We regret that when a person seeking work escapes, they do not report the escape but instead pursue the migrant aboard all-terrain vehicles and prefer to go to the extreme of reporting their death,” the rights official said. Soberanes said Border Patrol agents enjoyed “impunity” in firing on immigrants.
“Not only with premeditation and advantage, but sometimes they shoot them in the back,” he said. Soberanes said that instead of barriers, both physical and legal, better understanding of migration should be sought by Mexico and the United States.
“The walls and extreme surveillance have only strengthened organized crime and increased the chances that migrants will end up in the hands of those who traffic in people or will be unable to gauge the extreme temperatures that claim the lives of so many of them,” Soberanes said.
Some 11 million Mexican-born people live in the United States, of whom 6 million are illegal immigrants.