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Civil Rights Advocates Say Migrant Deaths A Humanitarian Crisis

Audio

Aired 9/30/09

Civil liberties advocates on both sides of the U.S. and Mexico border say the number of people dying while trying to sneak across the border is a humanitarian crisis. Advocates want both governments to recognize the problem.

Civil liberties advocates on both sides of the US and Mexico border say the number of people dying while trying to sneak across the border is a humanitarian crisis. Advocates want both governments to recognize the problem.

Tighter security along the U.S.-Mexico border has pushed people trying to cross illegally into more remote and treacherous terrain.

In a new report, officials with the American Civil Liberties Union and Mexico's National Commission on Human Rights say at least 5,000 people have died trying to cross the border over the last 15 years.

Kevin Keenan with the ACLU in San Diego says elected officials must come up with a solution.

"People just have stopped thinking about this mounting death toll. It's not pleasant to think about. It happens sometimes 20 miles close to the heart of San Diego. And there's statistically a person dying every single day."

The number of people caught trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally in California is down about 28 percent so far this fiscal year compared to last. In El Centro, 22 people have died so far compared to 17 last year. In San Diego, deaths have dropped from 32 to 14 during the same time period.

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