A few days ago, I wrote about how economic recovery was increasing the number of border crossings. Now (via Border Wall in the News) the number of border crossing deaths may hit a record high this month (the record of 68 was set in July 2005).
Apprehensions in the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector have decreased each of the past five years; remittances to Mexico have declined and anecdotal reports show the economic recession has slowed illegal immigration. Yet more people are dying than ever.
Border-county law enforcement, Mexican consular officials, Tohono O'odham tribal officials and humanitarian groups say the buildup of border fencing, technology and agents has caused illegal border crossers to walk longer distances in more treacherous terrain, increasing the likelihood that people will get hurt or fatigued and left behind to die.
The Border Patrol disagrees that it's pushing illegal immigrants into more hazardous terrain and points to its rescue efforts as evidence that its presence prevents deaths rather than causes them.
The Border Patrol certainly does not want people to die, and rescues those it can, but border enforcement pushes people to seek ever more dangerous routes. Study after study has shown the number of deaths increasing as border security was tightened. The essential point is that people will come illegally if there is no legal route, and take greater risks if they need to.