Jun 11, 2013

Near the Border, a Few Deputies Are Outnumbered by Drugs and Bodies

“It’s hard,” he said. “I stop these guys and they pull out their wallets. I see the pictures of their kids and I think about my own kids. I realize I’d probably do the exact same thing if the situation was reversed.” Deputy Brad Gill, Ajo, AZ

I find that consistently local law enforcement officers, forced by recent laws to treat immigrants as criminals, are far less convinced of their task and far more compassionate than lawmakers in Washington or the state capital. As the "border security" hype heats up in the context of immigration reform, legislators should pay more attention to our own "boots on the ground" and less to the defense lobbies that roam the halls with stuffed pockets, selling the tragically false equation of immigration=national security threat. 

We'll be putting out a series on recent reports on immigration in Arizona and Texas on www.cipamericas.org this week. They document the high death rate and massive human rights violations that should shame a nation committed to justice. They also reinforce the deputy's view here that the multibillion-dollar plan of building a total wall is useless and a gigantic waste of tax dollars.

NYT. June 11, 2013 AJO, Ariz. — On a recent morning, Lt. Bill Clements, commander of a remote sheriff’s department substation here, sent his deputies into the sun-blasted Sonoran Desert to recover a body — the fifth in five days. Hours later, back at the station, a deputy unzipped a white body bag, revealing the corpse of a man who had died making the brutal crossing from Mexico, his lips shrunken, either with dehydration or from being partly eaten by wild animals, the deputies said.

Pima County sheriffs moved the body of a person who had apparently died crossing the border.
Out here, life expires suddenly and without dignity. The Ajo district station recovered 18 bodies last year. As of late May, the station had recovered eight, and the summer sun was still a few weeks away.


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