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Freezing temperatures kill three illegal immigrants


Aired 4/19/09

Three illegal immigrants died crossing the border in San Diego County last weekend. All succumbed to freezing temperatures. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has details.

A spokesman for the Mexican Consulate in San Diego says all three men were in their early to mid-twenties, two were Mexican and the consulate is trying to confirm the identity of the third.

The spokesman says the men were traveling in separate groups and were discovered in Pine Valley, Boulevard and near Alpine.

Claudia Smith is with the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation. She says in 1994 Operation Gatekeeper sealed off San Diego's westernmost border and drove illegal traffic east to the mountains where freezing temperatures and snow are common.

Three years later, 16 illegal immigrants froze to death in just one month.

Smith: "What can be said about this is that it is an entirely predictable consequence of the strategy."

A total of five illegal immigrants have died in San Diego County this year.

Amy Isackson, KPBS news.

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