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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of August 7 - 13, 2002


End the dying season

Immigrants in the 18th and 19th centuries bet their lives they could get to America. Nothing has changed in the 21st.

In Texas, Arizona and southern California, summer is called the dying season.

Itís the season when blast-furnace temperatures kill migrants from Mexico who fail to complete treacherous desert crossings on foot.

Itís the season when swift currents in a canal near El Centro, Calif., drown migrants too weak to conquer them.

Itís the season when no one in the U.S. seems shocked to learn that two migrants died recently while being transported in a truck box that became an oven in the Dallas sun. Two truckers were charged with murder.

In June alone, 67 migrants died trying to cross the border between the U.S. and Mexico, according to The New York Times. This doesnít include 22 who died in Mexico. Only Mexico records those deaths and then only those who are Mexican citizens.

Each summer, the deaths are a mere blip on the nationís geo-political radar. Theyíre reported one minute, out-of-mind the next, and register only briefly with a nation that has more pressing matters on its mind this year.

However, border deaths arenít new. Their numbers, estimated at about 2,000 annually by the Mexican government, actually have declined a little along with the American economy.

Laying blame for migrant deaths is an exercise in futility, but there has to be a better way. Using what everyone knows would be a good place to start.

Poor migrants know they have a good chance of finding a job in the United States. Employers know they need migrant laborers to fill jobs Americans apparently donít want.

An efficient program that matches foreign workers with jobs in the United States would go far to end illegal immigration, protect workers from exploitation, and provide the work force America apparently needs.

A well-run programóalong with swift and sure action against violatorsóshould convince both potential employers and workers that working outside it is a waste of time and money. Only a well-run program will convince migrants that itís not worth risking life or limb to get here.

Getting a good program may require a total overhaul of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, an agency so seriously mismanaged that many experts say reform is impossible and replacement is necessary. A good program will also require the United States to put pressure on the Mexican government to get its economic, political and educational house in order.

Itís time to end the dying season.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.