Statement of Purpose and Intent

On March 12th, 2011 I began a 400 mile trek along the Arizona-Mexico border from Agua Prieta to San Luis Rio Colorado, an adventure with a purpose I am calling BorderVenture.

Through BorderVenture I hope to raise awareness of border issues, expose exaggeration of border violence, combat the racial profiling, discrimination, and often outright racism that seems prevalent of late, and to record and recount personal stories of people living near or trying to cross the border. I will record my experiences and stories in this blog, and hope to have them further covered by supportive media, organizations, and other websites and blogs. I plan to aggressively publish my experiences through media outlets, interested groups, the Internet, and through whatever other avenues I am able. I will write tirelessly and advocate my findings to all who will listen, publish, and share them.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Death and the Border

The Coalacion de Derechos Humanos reports that between the years 2000 and 2010, the remains of 2,104 people have been found in the desert borderlands.  Many of these have not been identified, though thankfully people are still working on this issue in some capacity.  From 1990 to 2005, the Pima County (the county in which Tucson resides) Medical Examiner's Office alone examined 927 recovered bodies, and this office handled only 90% of the recovered bodies of only one sector (the Tucson Sector) of the border as defined by the U.S. Border Patrol.  The number of annual border crossing deaths has increased steadily since the early 90's.  In 1999 there were 241 recorded deaths, in 2005 there were 472 border crossing deaths, and that number has continued to rise each year with 2011 on track to be another record year.  Not exactly a record to be proud of.

I feel that I have to emphasize here that these are people dying in the desert, people like you and I, most of which are merely trying to make a better life for themselves and their families.  Would you brave the Sonoran Desert with minimal to no supplies to find a better life for your family?  I must also emphasize that these deaths were only the result of crossing the borderlands and are not at all tied to crime or deaths in any of the border cities.  The major cause of death among those crossing the border is heat-related exposure.  The suspected drivers in this increase in deaths along the border are the construction of the border wall and the increased militarization of the border.  The combination of the wall, though still incomplete, and the greatly increased numbers of patrols are forcing people to travel further through much more remote and brutal terrain, known as a funnel effect.  This consequence was anticipated by the U.S. when the border wall construction and militarization of the border began, and as part of the plan, the U.S. expected the deaths to serve as an example and deter future unauthorized immigration.  We are supposed to be the greatest nation on Earth, but we enact policies that intentionally result in the deaths of impoverished peoplePeople of a country that shares a border with us and has been a valued partner in trade and commerce for many years.  People that were impoverished by U.S. policies in the first place (ie. the North American Free Trade Agreement/NAFTA) and forced from their traditional farms, jobs, and homes by U.S. corporations.

Just something to think about.