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Border Crosser Deaths Rising, Despite Reduction In Illegal Immigration


If the number of people illegally crossing into the United States from Mexico has dropped, then why is the number of border crosser deaths increasing? We discuss the findings from the "Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Deaths at the U.S.-Mexico Border" report that was recently released the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties.

ALAN RAY (Guest Host): You’re listening to These Days on KPBS. I’m Alan Ray in for Maureen Cavanaugh. The math on the northern side of the U.S.-Mexican border isn't working out quite the way you'd expect. This month marks the 15th anniversary of a U.S. federal program called "Operation Gatekeeper." It was intended to reduce the flow of illegal immigrants across the border, and to force people who did make the crossing farther east, away from the city of San Diego. Well, the number of people trying to cross the border has gone down by all accounts but the number of people who have died trying to get across has gone up; the total is about 5,000 apparently since Gatekeeper went into effect. These numbers and more information come from a report from the ACLU titled “Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Deaths at the U.S.-Mexican (sic) Border.” Today on These Days, we're going to talk about why the death toll keeps going up, how we might reduce it or at least stop the deaths if we can. We’re joined by Kevin Keenan, who’s executive director of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. Good morning.

KEVIN KEENAN (Executive Director, ACLU, San Diego and Imperial Counties): Good morning.

RAY: And by KPBS border reporter Amy Isackson. Good morning.

AMY ISACKSON (Border Reporter, KPBS): Good morning.

RAY: You’re welcome to join the conversation at 1-888-895-5727. First, Kevin, 5,000 deaths, that’s a stunning number but that may actually not tell the whole story.

KEENAN: That’s right, Alan. That number’s probably low. One statistic that all authorities who look at this issue agree on is that a number of bodies are never found. And so there have been a range of estimates and different systems of accounting for deaths but we know that all the statistics we have are too low.

RAY: Okay, other than the death toll, which is kind of breathtaking by itself, what else at sum did your report find?

KEENAN: Well, what I think is astonishing is that despite a drop in immigration, these deaths have remained at the same number and even possibly may increase this year, which means that the rate of deaths has increased despite there being less people coming across.

RAY: Okay, what resources and sources did you use to gather your data?

KEENAN: One of the important things about this report is that it, for the first time, pulls together all the multiple resources: Border Patrol statistics, the Mexican government statistics. There have been a number of academic looks at this issue but they haven’t been pulled together and analyzed in one place, and we did that here.

RAY: Do you have any kind of an internal guess about how low that 5,000 number might be? Is anybody speculating?

KEENAN: No. Some people are but, you know, the numbers we use are the range of about 4100 from Border Patrol to 5600, which is a combination of the Mexican government and news accounts. The Border Patrol will admit that it doesn’t count a number of deaths. For example anyone who washes up in the Rio Grande on the Mexican side won’t be counted in those statistics. To give you a concrete example of that, in a one year period in Texas at the Rio Grande, there were 88 bodies who – 88 bodies that washed up and only 16 of those made it into the U.S. statistics, so sometimes those dramatic differences, even in the bodies that are found, reflect in the difference between the statistics.

RAY: Amy, talk a little bit, if you can, about the decrease in the number of illegal crossings, at least, as they’re recorded.

ISACKSON: The decrease that we’ve seen is actually in the number of people that the Border Patrol has apprehended, and that isn’t a great measure to gauge how many people are trying to cross but that’s been – become the accepted measure. So that’s – The decrease in apprehensions borderwide is pretty astounding. It’s the lowest number of apprehensions since the 1970s. Through August of 2009, the Border Patrol caught about 500 in 5000 people crossing the border. Just by means of comparison to last year, that’s 200,000 less than the same time period last year. And if you look back to 2005, it’s actually less than half of the people that were apprehended. And just to localize it a little bit, here along California’s border with Mexico, apprehension’s dropped to about 143,000 and that’s about a 28% decrease compared to last year.

RAY: Now one of the things we talked about in terms of the establishment of Operation Gatekeeper was the attempt to get – to push people who are coming across farther east so we are effectively then pushing them into a more dangerous area.

ISACKSON: That’s the problem, is that Operation Gatekeeper, one of the consequences of it, was that they – when the architects of Operation Gatekeeper made Gatekeeper, they thought that the mountains in Tecate and then the desert further east would act as natural barriers but they haven’t. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and people cross the border even who know that – Wayne Cornelius from UCSD did a study recently and he was down in the Yucatan talking to migrants who wanted to – who were thinking about crossing and about more than 40% of them knew someone who had died crossing the border and the grand majority of them said we know it’s difficult and we know that it’s hard to get around the Border Patrol but, they said, regardless of that, they’re going to do it.

RAY: Kevin, talk about Operation Gatekeeper’s – Philosophically, was this really an attempt to push these people into somebody else’s backyard?

KEENAN: Well, absolutely it was an attempt to push migrants away from populated areas and the hope and belief was that it would deter crossings. It hasn’t. There – It was known that there would be deaths. I don’t think they knew just how many deaths there would be. But year after year—we’re in the 15th year now—they’ve seen that the deaths have been large and the strategy has continued, in fact it has increased. So at some point it goes from being unintentional to being either reckless disregard or gross negligence, some level of sort of cold, detached, ignoring of this brutal death toll.

ISACKSON: I think one of the other consequences is not just pushing people into more dangerous areas but really it’s created an entire industry of smugglers. And, whereas before, people didn’t necessarily need a smuggler to guide them across, now because they have to go through these more remote and more treacherous areas, they do. They pay upwards of $2,000 to get across and the smugglers aren’t – they don’t have a lot of care, many of them, for human life. They’ll leave stragglers behind and those stragglers often meet a very sad and painful death.

RAY: Well, we had one case here just a couple of weeks ago, I believe, something like 50 people in a van that was made for 11 people coming across the border?

ISACKSON: Yeah, that was coming through – the case you’re referring to…

RAY: At San Ysidro.

ISACKSON: ….through San Ysidro…

RAY: Yeah.

ISACKSON: …right. I mean, it’s – They’ll pack people into gas tanks, into dashboards, so I’ve seen pictures of people actually sewn into seats.

RAY: And then we don’t know how many people are lost at sea because now, Kevin, there are a lot of people being smuggled in by boat.

KEENAN: Yeah, that’s right. And I think it’s important to go back to a point that Amy made that a lot of folks understand the risk. And I think for a lot of Americans it’s hard to get your head around this issue because people are exercising their personal responsibility. They are assuming these risks. But the fact is that there is a shared responsibility. The U.S. has full authority to control its borders. We acknowledge that and we support that. It’s even in the constitution. But with that responsibility comes, also, the obligation, both moral and legal, to do the most you can to reduce the number of deaths and to at least not set up a system that makes death more likely, and that’s what Gatekeeper and its sister programs have done.

RAY: You’re listening to These Days on KPBS. I’m Alan Ray in for Maureen Cavanaugh. We’re talking today with Kevin Keenan, executive director of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, about the ACLU’s report “Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Deaths at the U.S.-Mexican (sic) Border.” And we’re talking with KPBS border reporter Amy Isackson. Please join the conversation, 1-888-895-5727, 1-888-895-KPBS.

RAY: Thank you for joining us on These Days. I’m Alan Ray in for Maureen Cavanaugh. We’re talking about a report from the ACLU, “Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Deaths at the U.S.-Mexican (sic) Border.” And we’re talking this morning with Kevin Keenan, who’s executive director of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, and KPBS border reporter Amy Isackson. As we said, we’d enjoy it if you’d join the conversation as well, 1-888-895-5727. Let’s check in with Sherry in Pacific Beach. Good morning, Sherry. You’re on These Days on KPBS.

SHERRY (Caller, Pacific Beach): Hi. Thanks for taking my call. First, I want to say thanks to ACLU for a lot of the good work that they do. I find myself just aghast at the notion, though, that our government can be responsible for the deaths of the people who try to cross in illegally. And I wonder what – And I apologize if I missed it earlier but what on earth is the solution you’re going to propose to help fix this? Thanks.

KEENAN: Oh, thank you, Sherry, and it’s not – it’s not an uncommon reaction at all even among ACLU supporters. I think people really do struggle with this sense of the personal responsibility of the migrants who assume this risk. It strikes at our core notions of law and order. And I want to be clear that the ACLU supports and shares those same notions. The idea that none of us is above the law, this idea of personal responsibility is at the core of our free society. What’s happening here, though, is an issue where that sense runs up against our badly designed system. This system was designed to prevent immigration. It was designed to prevent narco trafficking and the import of drugs, and it was designed to push people into these dangerous regions so to deter those things. Well, it didn’t succeed in decreasing immigration, it didn’t succeed in deterring drug trafficking, but it succeeded far too well in creating a dangerous path for immigrants. The good news is there’s actually simple things that can be done to make this a lot better. Our report focuses on, in additional to statistics, on some personal stories and some concrete recommendations. So, quite simply, you could shift existing Border Patrol resources more towards search and rescue than towards enforcement. Enforcement has grown by billions of dollars in the past five years but the budget for search and rescue has not. So that is a concrete thing that could be done right now and we could be rescuing more people who are coming across. That’s the humanitarian thing to do and it’s actually an international human rights legal obligation that our government has.

ISACKSON: One of the recommendations within the report also that I think is important, just from having talked – in my reporting, having talked to families on both sides of the border who are searching for relatives, is this idea of creating a database and a hotline where you can call in and say I’ve lost my brother or I’ve lost my sister or my mother, and log that and also have them check it against some kind of database to see if there is any matching information because the families that I’ve talked to are just in extremis having heard from someone two days prior and the person doesn’t show up, a week goes by, three weeks go by, and they have no information, and there’s not any kind of clearinghouse that they can go to, to say do you have any data that matches this person.

RAY: Now, you’ve – we’ve – we’re talking a lot about numbers. You have mentioned putting a human face and the punishment, the internal suffering that people go through looking for family members. You’ve got people stories in that report.

KEENAN: That’s right. And I think it is important to – We’ll hear later in this segment from someone who’s looking for his brother. You know, it used to be that San Diegans confronted this issue because migrants were being hit on the highways, right? So before Gatekeeper, you were having traffic fatalities as the number one cause for fatalities so you’d brutally confront through a bloody vehicle accident this problem. Well, now the deaths are happening in the desert far away from where anyone can see but they are actually just as brutal. I think people are mostly familiar with symptoms of dehydration: headache, dizziness, and then you expire. But it often comes with violent paranoid delusions and one of the testimonies we have of a migrant who came across with a guy named Kasimir O. (sp), he was 30 years old, he was a strong, well-built man but after ten hours in the crossing in Texas, he started to exhibit those symptoms: a headache, dizziness. And then, as this testimony in our report says, Kasimir looked very tired and began to walk in a zigzag, as if he were drunk. I, the person giving this testimony, yelled to the smuggler, we have to rest, this man needs rest. We saw that Kasimir was agitated. His uncle and two companions tried to calm him down but he would scream and – he would scream obscenities and throw sand at them. The smugglers did not want to touch him and so they asked his uncle and his friends to try to quiet him down. Kasimir would rile against me, he would pull away from them when they tried to take him towards some trees that he could rest, and they began to struggle with him. He was heavily distraught and he screamed insults to his buddies who tried to help him. Well, I won’t go on but he violently ends up hitting himself in the head, knocking himself unconscious and then is left for dead. These are brutal, awful ways to die, and there’s one of these deaths at least every – at least one of these deaths every 24 hours. And it’s a predictable outcome of the policies that we have and there are predictable ways that we could decrease these deaths.

RAY: You’re listening to These Days on KPBS. We’re talking about the ACLU report, “Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Deaths at the U.S.-Mexico Border.” And in Julian, John’s on the phone. Good morning, John. You’re on KPBS.

JOHN (Caller, Julian): I’ve got a question and the question is what is the worst case scenario for allowing the illegals to enter the United States. And, obviously, for our listeners, it’s pertinent to address the worst case scenario and then work backwards about the problems that we’re facing now.

RAY: Now you mean the worst case scenario is after they would get here successfully, not that they would die in the desert.

JOHN: That’s correct.

RAY: Okay.

KEENAN: I don’t pretend to understand the question.

ISACKSON: I don’t understand it either.

JOHN: That’s what I thought.

RAY: I mean, they get arrested, they go back.

JOHN: Okay – Well, I’m sorry?

RAY: What are you suggesting? That they get arrested then they go back?

JOHN: No, let me rephrase the question. It’s a loaded question so – The worst case scenario is called dislocation of the area in which they’re entering. When you bring the illegals in, it lowers the mean age and increases their mobility by their youth, and it causes a disruption of the locality that they’re entering plus a dislocation of the city when enough of them, quantitatively, intervene in the functioning and the welfare of a community.

RAY: Well, I’m going to suggest that that makes a couple of presumptions that I don’t think are particularly relevant here. The first presumption is says that these people would stay where they first got to the United States and, Kevin, I don’t believe that’s the case, is it?

KEENAN: Well, that’s right, and, you know, I know that this issue of immigration is one of the most charged issues and that there’s a large segment of the public who’s very concerned about the large number of illegal immigration. You can have all those concerns, want the U.S. to absolutely control its borders, lock down the borders, and still recognize that the humanitarian thing to do is to provide more resources for search and rescue and save human lives because lives are being lost at such a high rate.

RAY: You’re listening to These Days on KPBS. I’m Alan Ray in for Maureen Cavanaugh. We’re talking with Kevin Keenan, executive director of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, and KPBS border reporter Amy Isackson. It would be good if you joined the conversation at 1-888-895-5727.

RAY: You’re listening to These Days on KPBS. I’m Alan Ray in for Maureen Cavanaugh. And we’re talking on this, the 15th anniversary month of a program called Operation Gatekeeper, about the number of people who have actually died at the border. The number of people trying to get across apparently goes down while the number of people dying stays relatively steady, so you do the math. The death rate is up, and that’s just the number we know about. The concern is so great the ACLU has put together a report titled “Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Deaths at the U.S.-Mexico Border. We’re joined in the studio by the ACLU executive director for San Diego and Imperial Counties, Kevin Keenan, and by KPBS border reporter Amy Isackson. And we’re joined on the phone by David Cruz. It’s easy to look at the numbers of people who cross the U.S.-Mexican border and the number who die trying and then just kind of go about your day’s business. It’s not so easy if one of those people who died or is missing is a member of your family; then you put a human face, it’s a human story. David Cruz, Mexican by birth, living now in Hillsboro, Oregon. David, you’ve been looking for a year for your twin brother.

DAVID CRUZ (Oregon Resident): Yes, I did. A year ago I find out that my brother was crossing the border with some other guys and one of them called me and – to let me know that my brother was left behind because he was very tired. And so when I find out, I got in my car and drive all the way to California and I was – I went to Border Patrol detentions and Mexican Consul and everywhere, I was trying to get help if he was in, you know, even go to the police department, if he was detained by something, you know, I mean, he was there. And so I wasn’t very lucky so I never found anything about him. And we went to the mountain where he supposedly was left behind. We walk all over the mountain, back and forth around the area. We never found anything. It is pretty sad. I mean, I know they’re going to continue with the blocking the border but all it does is it’s making difficult for people trying to cross the border and it’s more chances for them to die at the desert through those mountains. I mean, the days we walked through those mountains, it just – nothing but rocks. It’s, I mean, it’s unhumanitarian the way they try to get to U.S. I mean, I don’t – I’m not saying that this has to stop. I mean, I know that – I didn’t know that my brother was coming and otherwise I will try to do, you know, something different than have him walk through the – Well, he didn’t try to – through that desert but he tried through the mountain, which is also pretty bad. If you can…

RAY: David, talk – tell us a little bit about your brother. What is his name? Do you know why he was coming to the U.S.? Did he have something to come to here or was he coming to Hillsboro, Oregon?

CRUZ: Yes. Well, yes, he was trying to come to make it all the way through Oregon. My brother is Alberto Cruz. He got a family, two kids. He left two kids and his wife in Mexico. The reason he came to u – he was trying to come to U.S. is because he got a job pretty well in Mexico but it wasn’t making still enough money for – to survive, to, you know, to help his kids to do university. So because they want to keep studying, they want to go to university, and with his wage it was impossible he will be able to make my nephews’ dream come true, you know.

RAY: Do you know, was he coming across the border alone? Or was he being smuggled across?

CRUZ: Yes, he – he – No, he was with four other guys, five other guys, yes.

RAY: Do you know, was one of those people a paid smuggler or was this just a group that decided to come north?

CRUZ: Yes, they were with two guide guys or coyotes and the other four – the other four guys they were two of them from Michoacan and two other ones from Sinaloa state in Mexico.

RAY: Have you had any help from any U.S. authorities or any humanitarian organizations on this side of the border to help to try to find your brother?

CRUZ: No, no. We went to, like I said, I went to the Border Patrol detentions asking for his name. He wasn’t in any detention of the Border Patrol and they didn’t help at all. I mean, they not even – One detention, they told me even if I was looking for him to, you know, kill this guy or something. I say, no, I have my identification. He’s my twin brother. We have the same last name, the same – we was born the same date and everything, and also we – I went to the Mexican Consul. The Mexican Consul, yeah, they looked very professional. They make the report and everything. Well, until the date, I haven’t hear anything. They haven’t give me a phone call or anything.

RAY: Do you have any hope at this point you will find or ever see Alberto alive again?

CRUZ: Well, I mean, it’s been a year so it’s – I don’t know. Not very many chances, I think. I mean, I still have hope. I mean, but, I mean, it’s going to be very hard.

RAY: Will you try to bring his kids north?

CRUZ: My wife and I, we talk about it and I would like to see if we can adopt them so we can bring them to U.S., yes.

RAY: Is there any agency you’ve been told you could go to that might help you now?

CRUZ: No. No, we had a – I’ve been working with the Los Angeles del Deserto which is Angeles of the Desert and these guys are – what they do is, they do search and rescue for people who’s trained to cross the border. And the problem is when I went to the Mexican Consul, they know about these groups and they never send me to them. So, I mean, I find out later, after, so, I mean, it’s too bad that organizations like that, I mean, they don’t do anything, you know, they don’t – I mean, my brother he was risking his life when I was down at – If I know about this – these groups, these are search and rescue, I mean, would be more chance that I was going to be able to find my brother alive.

RAY: Don’t give up hope entirely.

CRUZ: I won’t.

RAY: All right.

CRUZ: Thanks a lot.

RAY: David, thank you. David Cruz lost his brother, Alberto Cruz, somewhere out apparently in east San Diego County. Kevin Keenan.

KEENAN: You know, there have been a number of really impressive, heroic, humanitarian organizations, non-governmental organizations, that have cropped up to address the state failure to do an adequate job of providing search and rescue, Los Angeles del Deserto is one of them and they are one of the positive stories to come out of this. They provide a really important resource. One of our recommendations is within the year the U.S. government could find a way to provide greater support for them. First of all, not harass them. Second of all, assist them in getting into these areas. And third of all, provide funding as we do for Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations to address a humanitarian problem like this.

RAY: Just one more note. David Cruz has had his DNA drawn. The medical examiners will try to match it to unidentified bodies, should any turn up that bear resemblance to his brother, Alberto. We have no word on that. You’re listening to These Days on KPBS. I’m Alan Ray in for Maureen Cavanaugh. We’re talking about the ACLU report, “Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Deaths at the U.S.-Mexico Border.” And we’re talking with the ACLU executive director for San Diego and Imperial Counties, Kevin Keenan, and KPBS border reporter Amy Isackson. Thank you for joining us.

RAY: You’re listening to These Days on KPBS. I’m Alan Ray in for Maureen Cavanaugh. We’re talking about the 5000 known deaths coming across the Mexican border since the beginning of Operation Gatekeeper 15 years ago this month. The ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties has put out a report on that, the “Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Deaths at the U.S.-Mexico Border.” And we’re joined in studio by the ACLU’s executive director for the two counties, Kevin Keenan, and by our KPBS border reporter Amy Isackson. We’d be pleased if you’d join us on the phone as well, 1-888-895-5727, 1-888-895-KPBS. Kevin, do you have any indication of any change in policy or philosophies since the change of administrations from the Bush years to the Obama administration?

KEENAN: No, not yet, not concrete policy change. There is an increased openness and we were pleasantly surprised to see the response from Department of Homeland Security to our report. At least in the Washington Post they said that we’ve done a lot, we’ve rescued a lot of people, but if we can do better, we’re open to that. And I think that’s – that’s good. There really are very simple things. Some involve an expense but they aren’t that expensive, especially compared to the humanitarian cost of what we’re experiencing. I think this is going to be one of those periods in our history that we look back on and say, wait, we could’ve done x, y, and z and saved so many lives and we didn’t, or, hopefully, we do. And I think we will look back on this period with some shame at the number of deaths that we could’ve prevented and that were, in fact, a result of policies that we adopted.

RAY: Amy, do you have any sense of the direction of border policy with Alan Bersin in position in Washington, D.C. now?

ISACKSON: It’s a work – it’s a work in progress. Definitely, the Obama administration has said over and over again that they are open to considering immigration reform that increases the flow of legal workers, and Mexico’s ambassador to the U.S. and a number of analysts and academic experts say that doing that is really the only solution here, that enforcement only is just going to repeat this. But it remains to be seen. The fence is still being built. The Border Patrol is still adding new technology to the border and it’s very much focused on just enforcement, which leads to, as we’ve said, channeling people into these areas that are more and more treacherous. And in my conversations as well with Border Patrol spokespeople in Washington, they repeated what the Washington Post reported, that if there are recommendations that they are willing to look at them.

RAY: Okay. You’re listening to These Days on KPBS. And we’re going to go back to the phones to Kelly in Vista. Good morning, Kelly, you’re on KPBS.

KELLY (Caller, Vista): Hi. I was wondering if there are posts out in the wilderness where attempted crossees can call and surrender themselves and receive assistance in getting out of that area. I’m astounded that over 500,000 people are crossing a year and I don’t think most Americans know that. But I’m curious if they have those areas that they can give themselves up.

KEENAN: Yeah, there – One of the, you know, and I want to use that question to point out that Border Patrol has done a number of things and there’s a unit of Border Patrol called Border Star that is wonderful and heroic in rescuing lives. They haven’t received proportionate resources to the increase in other resources, enforcement, Border Patrol agents, etcetera. And that’s one of our recommendations, that they get more resources right away. And one of the things which I don’t know too much about but are the types of stations you’re talking about which are designated by, I believe, lights or red flags where people can go and get water. They’re run by Border Patrol and it’s also a place where you can call for help. There are not many of them. There are very few, as I understand, and it’s one of the things that needs to be looked at as a concrete practical solution to save people’s lives. You know, it is illegal to cross unauthorized into this country but it should not be part of a system that is designed to punish that by death. And I don’t think that is the – I don’t think it’s any intentional part of the U.S. government to kill people who cross but that is the result, and it’s been proven 15 years straight now.

RAY: Okay, we’ve been talking about the policies of the United States government, possible changes with administrations, how much responsibility does policy in Mexico bear for that 5000 number of people who’ve died?

KEENAN: You know, the Mexican government needs to do a lot more, and our report takes them to task. It is – The enforcement issue is primarily U.S. government responsibility, obviously, and, again, they have the authority to control their borders. They also have a responsibility to protect human life under international law and just common moral decency. Where Mexico is at fault is doing a lousy job of helping migrants’ families find their loved ones either while they’re alive or when they’re dead. And for failing to make this a priority in bilateral negotiations with the U.S. including the economic development that’s really one of the real solutions in the long term to this problem.

ISACKSON: I think, as Kevin just said, the economic development within Mexico too, so that there are jobs for people, and that’s the impetus for many migrants to come to the U.S. is jobs, so the economic development in Mexico is important. By the time it gets actually to the border on the Mexican side, Grupo Beta, which is like the Mexican version of the Border Patrol, although it has more of a humanitarian aspect to it, is understaffed and it’s ill equipped. And here in Tecate, I’ve heard from officials in the area that it’s too – just simply too dangerous, Grupo Beta feels, to go into some areas there that are well known migrant crossing paths so they don’t even go into those areas.

RAY: Briefly, and we’ve got – have about 30 seconds to talk about this, how much does the whole problem with the drug cartels complicate what’s going on at the border?

ISACKSON: It’s un – the answer to that is it’s unclear. Some people say that the smuggling groups are in league with drug cartels, that drug cartels have moved into that territory. Other people say that, no, it’s just that the smuggling cartels pay a rite of passage to the drug groups. Other migrant anecdotes from people have said that they now have to confront more danger in the area because they’re using similar routes, both drug groups and smugglers, to get into the U.S.

RAY: The report from the ACLU is “Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Deaths on the U.S.-Mexico Border. We’ve been joined by Kevin Keenan, executive director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, and KPBS border reporter Amy Isackson. I’m Alan Ray for Maureen Cavanaugh. This is These Days on KPBS.


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