Outfitting Undocumented Migrants with GPS Devices is a Humane Act

LatinaLista — Exactly two years ago this week, the Mexican government found itself under attack for trying to provide a humanitarian aide to the thousands of people who illegally migrate from and through Mexico on their way to the United States.

It was titled Guide for the Mexican Migrant and contained instructions on how NOT to die in the desert or drown swimming across the river.


Guide explains how to cross the border safely.
(Source: Mexico Foreign Ministry)

Though many in the United States condemned the book as an underhanded attempt by Mexican officials to condone illegal immigration, the parts of the book that dealt with encountering the Border Patrol precisely explained that migrants should never run from agents or throw anything at them.

In fact, the book said the migrants should surrender to the agents.

Now, this week, comes word from a Mexican university that they are willing to build and outfit about 10,000 migrants in a test run of a GPS device that can help Border Patrol agents locate those migrants who are hurt or lost in the “no-man’s land” between Mexico and the United States.

It’s being reported that the Monterrey Technological University is behind the initiative which would consist of small receivers along the lines of those used in recovering stolen cars.

When the devices are activated, border agents can locate the lost or injured migrants and work with Mexican officials to transport the migrants back to Mexico.

The program, with some devices ready to illustrate how it works, is supposed to be presented to federal officials in March. The hope is to get the program in operation by December.

Feelings are mixed as to whether or not this will even fly in Mexico given that no one really knows the cost or even if the migrants themselves will go for it.

Yet with rumors circulating that Mexican emigration will increase by 40 percent this year, many, who are looking at the humanitarian side of the issue, hope that it does become a reality and the migrants take advantage of them.

As can be imagined, the critics on this side of the border are already accusing the Mexican government of aiding and abetting their countrymen in coming to this country without waiting their turn in line.

But this time, there are some differences.

For one, the idea of the GPS device was the brainchild of educators at the Monterrey Technological University, not the government. Spokespeople at the university defend their idea by saying that it was created and presented from the standpoint of saving lives.

It’s a known fact that while ICE may be boasting higher numbers of undocumented immigrant apprehensions — And how hard is it really when they can be found working for the same company? — deaths are rising along the border.

The Border Patrol agency tabulated 441 border deaths last year as opposed to 266 in 1995 — and those are the ones that were found.

There are still too many families who never know what happened to their loved ones who came norte. They wait and wait and beg any US visitor to their towns for help in locating their sons, daughters, husbands, wives, mothers or fathers.

Why shouldn’t this technology be made available to these people, if they want it?

At the least, families will either be afforded a sense of closure or peace of mind if their loved ones have these devices.

At the most, it will be a true test of cooperation between two countries that share so much more than just a border.

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