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Best Of The Border (9/2 - 9/6)

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Photo by KJZZ

Illegal Crossings Increasingly Deadly Along South Texas Border

Photo caption:

Photo by KJZZ

Nationwide Immigration Mass Hopes to Sway Congress

Illegal Crossings Increasingly Deadly Along South Texas Border

A costly game of cat and mouse unfolds nightly along the banks of the Rio Grande in south Texas. The number of immigrants crossing illegally there has doubled in the last four years, making it now the busiest section along the southwest border. As a result the number of migrant deaths is also rising.

Historically, heavier enforcement has pushed immigrants to take greater risks to get to the U.S. "We save lives out here every week," said Lavoyger Durham, who manages a private ranch. "You know people have given up ... and they're crawling to my house and knocking on my door saying, 'Please give me water and please give me food.'"

Nationwide Immigration Mass Hopes to Sway Congress

In response to a call from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, dioceses across the country will hold Mass with an immigration theme this coming Sunday. As the national immigration reform debate continues this month, the church wants its prayers answered by Congress.

New Mexico's Medicaid Woes A Financial Boost For Arizona Mental Health Providers

Arizona looks to benefit from disarray in New Mexico's behavioral health system. Five Arizona agencies that work with mental health and substance abuse clients have started treating patients in New Mexico.

They were hired after New Mexico launched an investigation into health groups accused of overbilling Medicaid in that state. TheArizona providers will be paid millions of dollars for a few months of work.

Service Disruptions Mark Transition Of New Mexico Behavioral Health To Arizona Hands

New Mexico accused 15 of its mental health providers of Medicaid fraud in late June. The state then froze all federal funds to the agencies and handed management of the companies over to Arizona firms. Some say the transition isn't going so well.

"No, it's not a smooth transition," said Paul Weeks, a therapist with Valencia Counseling Service in Los Lunas, N.M. which is now being run by Valle Del Sol of Phoenix. "The agency right now is very chaotic. All of the scheduled clients that I had have been taken off. There's no schedule, there's no computer, there's nothing."

Veterans Commit Suicide Twice As Often As Civilians

People who have served in the United States military commit suicide at more than twice the rate of the civilian population, according to a report released by News21 this week.

Advocate For Tijuana Deportees Dies at 67

Men and women who land in Tijuana after being deported from the U.S. lost a great friend this week. Micaela Saucedo was one of the city's most vocal advocates for that city's vulnerable deportee population, and she died Sept. 1 after a battle with cancer.

"She struggled so much trying to make sure that there were the resources necessary in order for her to actually make a difference," said Mar Cardenas, who runs a community center in Tijuana's Playas neighborhood.

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