Feathered Bastard

Barack Obama's Bloody Hands: 85 Dead in the Arizona Desert and Counting

Not all of the water from all of the jugs placed in the desert by activists from groups like No More Deaths can wipe clean the blood of migrants from President Barack Obama's hands.

What other conclusion can be drawn from the news from Tucson advocacy group Derechos Humanos that the number of remains recovered from the Arizona desert for the current fiscal year has already reached 85? That's a 60 percent increase over this time last year.

According to Derechos Humanos,

"The count to date includes fifty-four (54) males, ten (10) females, and twenty-one (21) individuals of unknown gender. The identities of approximately sixty-five (65) of the recovered individuals remain unknown, which is approximately 76% of the total recovered thus far this fiscal year.

"This number is a 60.3% increase from last year, when the total of recovered remains as of February 28, 2009 was fifty-three (53).  Approximately twenty-five (25), or 28.3% of the remains were skeletal, and sixty-five (65), or 76.4% remain unidentified."

Derechos Humanos Coordinator Kat Rodriguez blames cold winter weather, as well as the phenomenon known as the "funnel effect," for the deadly harvest.

The "funnel effect" is a phrase used by researchers to describe the result of a U.S. border policy that seals off urban areas, forcing migration into increasingly remote and rugged terrain. Which in turn causes a higher number of migrant deaths. 

This deadly border policy has been maintained by several administrations, both Democrat and Republican. And the Obama Administration, via Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, persists in it.

The U.S. Border Patrol has referred to its border strategy as "prevention through deterrence." Critics call it "deterrence through death."

The increase in skeletal remains noted above and in remains where the gender cannot be determined due to a lack of corporeal matter, indicates that migrants are being forced into, "more isolated areas, making rescue and detection less likely and the likelihood of death more certain," according to Derechos Humanos.

A demilitarization of the border and an immigration reform package that allows for a common-sense approach to work visas and circular migration from Mexico would likely bring the death toll back down to its pre-90's levels. But there's no indication that President Obama intends any such thing,

And so the President's hands remain gory with guilt, and the bodies continue to stack up in southern Arizona like freshly cut mesquite. If you were looking for "change," there's none here.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons