Advertisement

Our Opinion: Too much encouragement?

May 26, 2001

It seems everyone wants to help illegal immigrants.

Folks on the U.S. side of our border have been setting bottles of water in shaded areas in our county's deserts for many months now. There is a plan to set up lifelines across the All-American Canal to keep illegal immigrants crossing the canal from drowning.

Now the Mexican government and the California Endowment, a Woodland Hills-based health foundation, are going to equip 200,000 of its people who the government thinks will be future illegal border-crossers with survival kits for their journeys. The kits will include water, food, medicine and medical supplies, contraceptives for both men and women (we'll reserve comment on that one) and tips on how to maintain self-esteem and fight depression, loneliness and anxiety and deal with injury during the arduous trek.

We loathe seeing lives lost in our deserts, mountains and waterways to illegal immigration. It is a horrible price to pay for merely trying to find a better life for yourself and your family, for simply trying to escape poverty and despair. Crossing the border illegally should not bring the death penalty.

Advertisement

More and more our Border Patrol officers are becoming rescue agents as they pull dying people from the desert. While such efforts certainly improve the image of the Border Patrol in many eyes, it speaks to the gravity of the problem and the desperation of people to get across the border under any circumstances.

Yet we wonder how much such undoubtedly good-hearted immigrant aid measures really do to save lives, not to mention the mixed message inherent in both countries on the surface discouraging illegal immigration but providing means to make it safer. It is similar to the messages we give our kids about sex: don't do it, but if you do, use protection.

What about the protections we are providing for these illegal immigrants? Will lifelines across the All-American Canal encourage more people to try to cross the treacherous waters and drown? Will a bit of water, some tins of tuna and some encouraging words prevent essentially innocent people from frying in the desert? Could not the money being spent on the immigrant kits program be better used for economic development in Mexico? Could not the money be better spent on tracking down the "coyotes" who put such poor folks into the jaws of death, including the bastards who abandoned a group of immigrants in the desert near Yuma last week, resulting in the deaths of 14 people?

The $2 program being instituted by the Mexican government and the California Endowment is called "Vete Sano, Regresa Sano," or "Leave Safe, Return Safe." We are not convinced it will do either.

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles
|
|
|