Disappeared on the Border: "Chase and Scatter" -- to Death
Date Written: 27/03/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX20516
The inhuman tactics used by US Border Patrol Agents against people corssing the border are causing untold numbers of migrants to die in the desert.
This is a dark untold chapter behind this staggering body count, the story of the dead never recovered, the disappeared.
"I'm looking for a disappeared person" was the gist of over 800 phone calls to the Missing Migrant Crisis Line in 2015 alone. A family member is desperately seeking information on the whereabouts of a loved one who has come north from Mexico or Central America -- and has not turned up.
The term "disappeared" has generally been associated with people kidnapped by authoritarian regimes and killed without explanation. The United Nations definition of "enforced disappearance" now includes state policies which result in persons being disappeared. People don't just vanish into thin air in the Sonoran Desert. A sophisticated technological network which includes surveillance towers, drones, ground sensors, and cameras work together with an ever-increasing number of Border Patrol agents to create a vast zone of enforcement which pushes people further into formidable, lethal terrain. In effect, the desert becomes a weapon. People do not just disappear. They are disappeared. Their numbers are unknowable, uncountable, and reprehensible -- at least in the view of civil society. Even one lost is one too many, let alone thousands. The 1999 "Prevention through Deterrence" enforcement directive which fueled this catastrophe is not only fatally flawed, it is criminal.