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Voice: Think it through: lifelines may mean more deaths

April 26, 2001

First and foremost I agree that there are far too many deaths related to illegal aliens attempting entry into the United States. I have personally seen too many over the years and it is not a pleasant sight.

The current plan to place lifelines across the All-American Canal appears, on the surface, to be a humane effort at reducing these deaths. However, I have a few questions and concerns …

First, the lifelines will be placed one mile apart. I believe this will encourage people to use these lines as a means to cross the canal. Many of these people cannot swim. When they get to the middle of the canal with 20 other persons at the same time, disaster could strike with someone losing his/her grip. Now what? It is a mile to the next lifeline and very possibly another statistic, another grieving family.

Second, suppose that group is crossing the lifeline and a Border Patrol agent drives by in the night on routine patrol. The aliens see the agent coming and panic. More statistics and grieving families.

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Should we make the Border Patrol agents stay off the canal? I don't think that is the answer, Agents save people from drowning in the canal. Their presence deters the aliens from getting in the canal. (At least for that moment) Besides, the agents' job is to patrol the border.

I agree that things need to be done, but I also think that not enough thought has gone into the lifeline issues. I have met with John Hunter previously and know he has a genuine concern in the saving of lives. I would hate to see this program backfire and see the statistics and grieving families' skyrocket.

Let's rethink this issue before the first lines go in.

DON WEBSTER

El Centro

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