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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Human Tragedy of Illegal Immigration: Greater Efforts Needed to Combat Smuggling and Violence

The Heritage Foundation has released a detailed study and plan needed to combat smuggling and violence.

Abstract: Over the past 10 years, traversing the U.S.–Mexico border illegally has become increasingly dangerous for would-be immigrants. Illegal immigrants face kidnapping, murder, and rape at the hands of violent drug cartels and ever more ruthless human smugglers. Crossing treacherous desert areas exposes the travelers to heat exhaustion and dehydration. Hundreds of people die every year trying to cross the border into the U.S. However, illegal immigration is dangerous not only to the illegal immigrants themselves—it is costly to societies and nations as a whole. In order to fight illegal immigration and reduce the toll on human lives, the United States must take a comprehensive approach of increasing border security and improving legal immigration procedures and public diplomacy, as well as fostering reforms and greater efforts to crack down on human smuggling in Latin America. The Heritage Foundation lays out a plan for such an approach.
n August 2010, 72 would-be illegal immigrants from Mexico were lined up and executed, their bodies discovered on a remote ranch a mere 90 miles from the U.S. border.[1] The drug gang responsible for the kidnapping and murders, Los Zetas, captured its victims as they traveled through Tamaulipas, presumably on their way to cross the border illegally into the United States. When the 72 people refused to work for the gang, they were executed.

Violence against illegal border-crossers has become a regular occurrence around land and sea borders over the past decade. Criminal acts committed against illegal immigrants include kidnapping, robbery, extortion, sexual violence, and death at the hands of cartels, smugglers, and even corrupt Mexican government officials. Hundreds of individuals perish trying to cross the U.S. southwest border each year—due to heat exhaustion, drowning, and falling into the hands of the wrong people.[2] In Mexico, violence against illegal immigrants in transit has exploded since President Felipe Calderon began his battle against the country’s transnational criminal organizations in 2006. Despite some success in thwarting these organizations, the slow pace of justice and law enforcement reform, as well as rampant corruption, has allowed organized crime to continue to thrive in Mexico. Likewise, as Mexico attempts to clamp down on narcotics operations, these increasingly multifaceted criminal organizations turn to other sources of income, such as human smuggling and sex trafficking.

The dangers of illicit movement are not confined to Mexico. Thousands of illegal immigrants attempt to reach the United States annually by sea from the Caribbean islands of Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. They all put themselves at risk of abandonment, exposure, capsizing, and drowning.

This violence is augmented by an inconsistent policy by the Obama Administration, which downplays the risks of illegal migration, and an unorganized U.S. border security strategy. Exacerbating the problem is that enforcement of immigration laws inside the United States has been inconsistent—leaving a significant economic incentive for further illegal immigration. The escalating violence, ad hoc border security, and spotty immigration enforcement demands a more comprehensive and robust strategy for combating human smuggling, violence, and the huge numbers of illegal aliens. Such a strategy should include the following elements:

  • Continued partnerships with nations to combat human smuggling and to dismantle trafficking networks throughout the region;
  • Concerted efforts to promote justice and law enforcement reform, as well as free-market reform throughout Latin America to foster healthier economies, and thus weaken the incentive to migrate;
  • Rejection of proposals for amnesty which give incentives to illegal immigrants;
  • An organized strategy for integrating border manpower, technology, and other resources into an enterprise capable of responding to threats and decreasing the flow of illegal aliens across the border;
  • Increased interior enforcement in the U.S. and reforms in legal immigration aimed at discouraging illegal entry; and
  • Creation of an active public diplomacy program to educate potential illegal immigrants on the risks of such a journey and the consequences of illegal entry into the U.S.
  • Increased interior enforcement in the U.S. and reforms in legal immigration aimed at discouraging illegal entry; and
  • Creation of an active public diplomacy program to educate potential illegal immigrants on the risks of such a journey and the consequences of illegal entry into the U.S.
Read the detailed Heritage Foundation Report

Tags: Mexico, illegal immigration, migrants, smuggling, violence, immigration, Heritage Foundation, research, study, solutions, illegal aliens To share the post, click on "Post Link." Please mention / link to Blogs for Borders. Thanks!

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