TUCSON, ARIZ.—Here is what I found on visit to the border in Arizona—people die on the border because of lack of adequate security.
It is easy to add up the real costs of border insecurity—they are pretty daunting. They include violence and crime that prey on communities on both sides of the border. Many of the victims include individuals trying to sneak into the United States. In some cases, the smuggling rings that move people collude with criminal gangs that rob and rape their clients. In others cases, gangs steal their human cargo from one another and then hold them for ransom—demanding additional fees to deliver them into the U.S. or not turning them over to American authorities.
As the Border Patrol increasingly cracks down on illegal crossings, smugglers are leading people further and further into the high desert to allude law enforcement. It is not uncommon for groups trying to sneak into the U.S. to walk across 20 to 60 miles of rough terrain to reach towns or highways were they can be spirited away to destinations across the nation.
It is also not hard to find evidence of their passage—dumps of plastic empty water bottles. Now, as well one can find empty cans of “Red Bull” and other energy drinks. Smugglers also hand out ephedrine and similar stimulants using caffeine and other chemicals to speed up the crossing. The problem is these cocktails speed dehydration increasing the risk of death in the desert.
Stumping out illegal border crossings is as much a humanitarian mission as anything else. And that is not the only problem we don’t think much about. More to follow.