GPS-device giveaway is an effort to save lives on the Arizona-Sonora border
Fed up with decade-old strategies that have done little to slow the annual summer onslaught of border deaths in Arizona, the Rev. Robin Hoover is trying something new - giving out cellphone-sized GPS devices in Mexico to illegal border crosser guides.
Hoover - the founder and first president of Humane Borders - believes the initiative will help save lives. The Border Patrol worries it could create false hope and cause even more death.
The 252 bodies recovered in Arizona in fiscal year 2010 marked the deadliest year ever. Despite a significant slowdown in illegal crossings, the number of bodies found continues at the same or higher levels, indicating the route has become more dangerous.
There were 118 known deaths per 100,000 apprehensions in the area covered in the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector in fiscal year 2010, which ended on Sept. 30, the Arizona Daily Star’s border-death database shows. That’s up from 88 known deaths per 100,000 apprehensions in 2009, 39 per 100,000 apprehensions in 2004 and three per 100,000 apprehensions in 1998.
Through the first seven months of fiscal 2011, there have been 108 known deaths per 100,000 apprehensions.
The Rev. Robin Hoover, Humane Borders founder, memorializes migrants who failed to make it safely across the harsh desert. Last week Hoover traveled to Sonora to distribute GPS devices to trusted associates. RICH-JOSEPH FACUN / ARIZONA DAILY STAR 2003