Monday, September 17, 2007

keeping count

Over the weekend, the Times reported:

Pima County, which includes the Tucson area, is one of the busiest areas for illegal crossings along the 2,000-mile border. The medical examiner’s office handled 177 deaths of border crossers in the first eight months of this year, compared with 139 over the same period last year and 157 in 2005, the year the most such deaths were registered.

The death of Ms. Martínez in July illustrates a primary reason that immigration scholars, the Border Patrol and government officials in the United States and Mexico believe people continue dying at such high rates: As they increasingly avoid heavily patrolled urban areas, they cross with little or no knowledge of the desert, whose heat, insects, wildlife and rugged terrain make it some of the most inhospitable terrain on the planet.

. . .

The Government Accountability Office, in a report last year that analyzed Border Patrol statistics, said the annual number of reported deaths of border crossers doubled to 472 between 1995 and 2005, with the majority of those deaths in the desert near Tucson.

The report suggested the agency has undercounted deaths because of inconsistent classification.

That sounds familiar. One might suspect that the U.S. government doesn't consider all life as being of equal value, if one didn't know that the U.S. is always a force for good in the world. Undercounting (or simply not counting) deaths is how this government promotes a culture of life--if the government doesn't report a death, it may or may not have really happened. The GAO needs to get on board with the administration line if we're going to keep Mexican terrorists from bringing down American democracy and keep our troops in Iraq for the next 20 years.

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