Warning: Graphic violence in the paragraph ahead. NBC News reports that “Border Patrol agents and local paramedics have responded to 229 injuries since October 2021, including some fatalities, as migrants scale the Mexican side of the steel barrier and then fall 30 feet onto U.S. soil.” The Pima County Medical Examiner said in May that a 31-year-old Mexican woman “found hanging on the border wall in southern Arizona choked to death in an accident when she became entangled in climbing gear,” the Associated Press reported. Border Report said that same month that a man died after falling on the Mexican side.
“Smugglers build ladders that can scale the fence and force migrants to the top, often telling them they can scale the fence on the way down,” NBC News said a border agent relayed. Some portions of fencing are older and are actually easier to cut through, so “agents often wonder why smugglers force migrants to scale the wall rather than cut through the mesh. They say it speaks to the inhumane way smugglers view migrants,” the report continued.
But what about the inhumane way that agents view migrants? What about the fact that the fencing’s height is deliberately meant to harm?
Pedro Rios, a human rights advocate with American Friends Service Committee, wrote in a San Diego Union-Tribune op-ed last year that former Border Patrol chief Rodney Scott revealed officials “purposely chose the height of new replacement border wall after it conducted psychological tests to establish at what height an average person becomes so disoriented that he or she would stop climbing a wall—30 feet, is what Scott mentioned. Disorientation at that height would surely mean a person attempting to scale the wall would fall, resulting in serious injuries or death.”
Scott, forced out by the Biden administration last year, made a rape threat over social media to a former agent-turned-whistleblower in September.
“Death has always been part of the calculus under the Border Patrol’s prevention through deterrence strategy,” Rios continued. “By militarizing border communities and pushing migrants away from public view, migrants are forced to take dangerous routes, in hostile terrain, where more people perish in their attempt to cross into the United States.” The University of California at San Diego confirmed in a study earlier this year that the increased fencing height had achieved the goal of harming more people.
“Since 2019, when the barrier’s height was raised to 30 feet along much of the border in California, the number of patients arriving at the UC San Diego Medical Center’s trauma ward after falling off the structure has jumped fivefold, to 375, the physicians found,” The Washington Post reported in April. “Falling deaths at the barrier went from zero to 16 during that time, according to the report, citing records maintained by the San Diego county medical examiner.”
While the Biden administration sought to finally end the anti-asylum Title 42 policy in May after enforcing it for more than a year, corrupt Republican Texas attorney Ken Paxton has led a successful effort in right-wing courts to block that decision. This will only cause injuries and the death toll to climb. But it’s exactly what they want.
Click here to donate and help protect immigrant youth from deportation.
'Broken, corrupt, offensive and ineffective': Pieces of previous president's wall fall to handsaws
Viral photo shows portion of previous president's wall 'being ripped apart by monsoon floods'
QAnon vigilantes patrolling the Arizona border reflect how deeply conspiracism infects movement
Comments are closed on this story.