[JURIST] Government officials in Mexico have approved a plan to issue Mexicans crossing the US border illegally satellite tracking devices [Sunday Telegraph report] to ensure their safe arrival in the United States. Even with a knowledgeable guide — called a "coyote" — paid to lead the way, it is believed that hundreds of migrants die during the arduous four-day trek across the desert. The tracking device will alert border patrol forces on both sides of the frontier of those who get lost or fall behind. Approximately, 200,000 devices are expected to be assigned this year. Australia's ABC News has more.
Two volunteers for the US-based No More Deaths [advocacy website] faced prosecution last year for aiding illegal immigrants they found in need of emergency medical attention in the Arizona desert, though the charges were dismissed [JURIST report] in September. The advocacy group works to reduce the number of migrant deaths in the desert and the two workers were arrested while attempting to transport sick migrants to a medical clinic; the workers said they were following a protocol approved by the US Border Patrol [official website] when they were arrested which involved checking with a lawyer and a doctor before transporting migrants to medical facilities.
Mexico's decision to arm immigrants with tools to ensure their successful flight to America is the latest development in a strained US-Mexico relationship. Mexico's attempts to address the needs of "undocumented workers" often directly conflict with US government efforts to discourage immigrants attempting to enter the US illegally. In October, US President George W. Bush signed legislation authorizing a 700-mile fence [JURIST news archive], dubbed by critics the "Great Wall of Mexico" [GlobalSecurity backgrounder], along the border. Tighter border control efforts by the US have led to a higher rate of migrants hiring smugglers [AP report], or "polloros," to spirit them into the country. Critics have condemned both countries' immigration policies, claiming that they led to an increase in violence along the border as drug gangs battle over lucrative smuggling routes [AP report].