Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Human Rights at the Border

As Congress and the President debate the viability of the current immigration reform bill, the delay in fixing our broken immigration system takes a human toll at our southern border: 453 deaths last year alone. A GAO report found border deaths doubled between 1995 and 2005. The cause? Luis M. Lopez Moreno, the Mexican consul in the small border town of McAllen, Texas, explains:
Since the border has become so difficult to cross, working men who moved back and forth annually are now stuck in the north, and family members unaccustomed to the trek are “trying to reunite” by traveling to the States. Women, arguably less able to withstand the journey, sometimes caring for children, are represented more in the migrant stream. Young migrants, the majority of those who come, are likely to be better educated and more urban now, less aware of how to manage themselves under extreme conditions.
The alarm bells have been sounding for years; 5 years ago, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants Gabriela Rodríguez Pizarro recommended:
In view of the demand for labour in many parts of the United States, the Special Rapporteur invites the United States Government to strengthen migration agreements and implement new measures to regularize migrant workers and their families. This would give migrants more dignified access to the United States labour market and without the risks that an irregular crossing of the border entails.
The Special Rapporteur also recommended that the US ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, which entered into force in 2003 and has yet to be ratified by any developed nation. Nonetheless, the simple moral force of the report makes for compelling soft law: While the Special Rapporteur acknowledges the right of the United States to protect its borders, she would like to receive the guarantee that all measures taken to this end respect the right to life. 'Nuff said.

1 comment:

kyledeb said...

It's not only about human rights at the border it's about human rights beyond the border. The death and suffering only gets worse the further south you go. Pay particular attention to <"The Beast" a well documented case where migrants hitchhiking on a train often lose their limbs or their lives.