50 Migrants Found Dead In Texas, A Flawed Approach To Migration Policies

More than 50 people were found dead of heat exhaustion in the back of a truck in south Texas while migrating to the United States. This event is a direct result of the horrific policies in place that hinder the safe and humane crossing for people looking for refuge. Officials say that this was one of the deadliest recent incidents of human smuggling across the U.S.-Mexico border. The United States was quick to blame smugglers, yet the U.S. itself remains a culprit owing to its abusive migration policies.

The U.S. has attempted to discourage refugees from coming in through deterrence policies, however, this step has only prevented the safe migration of people, not migration as a whole. Human rights violations, violence, environmental disasters, economic inequality, and other push factors still continue to be present in countries of refugee origins, and as such, the flow of people looking for safety in the United States will continue, no matter the harsh policies put in place.

For three decades now, the United States has been carrying out policies called “prevention through deterrence,” which aim to make irregular migration so difficult and dangerous that people will stop attempting it. They have also limited the options of legal pathways to migration and asylum-seeking. These deterrence techniques have increased the number of deaths associated with migration, especially in places like the U.S.-Mexico border, where people are already susceptible to hostile conditions and predatory smugglers. The exact amount of deaths is unknown because Border Patrol undercounts deaths; according to a recent government report, there are twice as many immigrants who died crossing the border as has been reported by the Border Patrol to Congress.

Deterrence is not a solution to the United States’ immigration problems. The death of these 50 individuals should act as a wake-up call to U.S. lawmakers who must create safer and legal ways to cross the border. The United States can work together with neighboring countries to ensure better migration policies are put in place, not only for the immigrants’ sake but also so that other countries can shoulder the burden together. The Department of Homeland Security should transform border operations to prioritize the safety and well-being of those migrating.

Deadly U.S. deterrence policies shoulder the blame for these recent deaths and this horrific tragedy should be a turning point in the fight for better and safer migration policies to make seeking refuge no longer impossible and deadly.