4. Border and Enforcement News:
Immigrant deaths in Arizona desert near record
The Associated Press reports that the number of deaths among immigrants crossing the Arizona border from Mexico has increased at an alarming rate in July. The bodies of 40 illegally present immigrants were brought to the office of Dr. Bruce Parks, the Pima county Medical Examiner. Dr. Parks says his office is storing roughly 250 bodies and has been forced to use a refrigerated truck to store some of them.
Authorities attribute the high number of deaths to above-average temperatures and tighter border security that pushes immigrants to more remote and dangerous terrain. These deaths occur despite public service announcements warning of the dangers of desert heat, humanitarian groups that maintain aid stations for immigrants in distress, and 20 Border Patrol rescue beacons that distressed immigrants can activate in remote areas.
Mexico sends human rights inspectors to border
The Washington Post reports that Mexico’s National Human Rights commission announced that it will send inspectors to U.S. border crossings to monitor deportations and ensure migrants are treated properly. The commission issued a statement claiming that the implementation of Arizona Law SB1017 threatened ‘migrants’ full exercise of their human rights.
Interior Secretary Francisco Blake of Mexico met with U.S. ambassador Carlos Pascual on July 26th to express his support for the Obama administration’s challenge to the law. In addition, he emphasized that Mexico wants a proper investigation of the deaths of two Mexican citizens in incidents involving U.S Border Patrol officers in May and June.
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U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez closes for security
The Associated Press reports that the United States shutdown its consulate in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez for a security review. The decision comes just months after drug gangs killed three people tied to the consulate. The U.S. Embassy announced that the consulate will ‘remain closed until the security review is completed.’
The consulate at Ciudad Juarez is the only place where Mexicans applying for U.S. residency can go and the embassy said it would have to reschedule pending appointments for visa applications. They warned that medical clinics where applicants are required to receive exams ‘may also close on short notice.’
Ciudad Juarez has been a battleground between warring drug cartels and more than 4,000 people have been killed their since 2009. In May, U.S. consulate employee Lesley Enriquez, her husband, and Jorge Alberto Salcido, the husband of a Mexican employee of the consulate, were killed by gunmen.
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U.S. to reopen consulate in Mexican border city
The Associated Press reports that the U.S. consulate in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez will reopen after being closed for two days due to an unidentified security threat. A U.S. Embassy spokesman refused comment on the findings of the security review or what specifically prompted the sudden shutdown of the consulate.
The consulate in Ciudad Juarez is the only location in Mexico that processes immigrant visa. In 2009, the consulate processed 124,145 immigrant visa applications and about 120,000 travel visas. The U.S. embassy said it would reschedule any missed appointments for visa applications through its call center.
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