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Prevention-through-Deterrence and Death Mitigation: Border Law's Symbolic Order and Its Symptoms
Unformatted Document Text:  D D r r a a f f t t o o f f a a r r t t i i c c l l e e f f o o r r t t h h c c o o m m i i n n g g i i n n t t h h e e L L a a w w & & S S o o c c i i e e t t y y R R e e v v i i e e w w . . P P l l e e a a s s e e d d o o n n o o t t r r e e p p r r o o d d u u c c e e o o r r c c i i t t e e w w i i t t h h o o u u t t a a u u t t h h o o r r p p e e r r m m i i s s s s i i o o n n . . 11 watch, with upwardly ticking body counts from migrants dying of heat and thirst in the desert or exposure and freezing in the high mountains. In conversations, border-area residents tell of coming across migrants with feet swollen into oozing black lumps and skin scorched blue-black by the sun. In an attempt to abate deaths, the Border Patrol began its “Border Safety Initiative” in June 1998, adding rescue services to its policing power and roles (General Accounting Office 2006: 9). The Border Patrol installed rescue beacons in desert regions considered especially dangerous and deployed special search and rescue teams, dubbed BORSTAR units. 2 (General Accounting Office 2006: 9). Alongside the paradigm of prevention-through-deterrence, there was now a paradigm of death mitigation. Despite these efforts at death mitigation, however, high numbers of deaths in zones of diversion persisted (McCombs 2006a: A1). As for the prevention through deterrence strategy, “the primary discernible effect” was to shift traffic of undocumented migrants (General Accounting Office 2001: 1-2, 28; see also Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 2001: 5). The policy of diversion also proved a business boon to smuggling groups (Andreas 2001: 116). Migrants now need smugglers to navigate the border gauntlet (Cornelius 2001: 666, Andreas 2001: 116). According to a Border Patrol spokesman in an interview, the rates for a guide across the desert have increased from between $250 and $500 to more than $3,000. 3 As prices soar, narcotics-trafficking organizations are muscling into the now lucrative people-smuggling trade (Cooper 2003; Cornelius 2001: 668). 2. Short for Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue. 3. According to earlier academic accounts, smuggling rates have tripled or more from around $200 or $500 to $1,500 or more (Cooper 2003; Cornelius 2001: 668). For example, the trip from the border town of Agua Prieta, just across the border from Douglas, Arizona, to Phoenix, Arizona, used to cost around $200 in 1994 but by 1999 had climbed to $1,500 (Andreas 2001: 116).

Authors: Fan, Mary.
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11 
watch, with upwardly ticking body counts from migrants dying of heat and thirst in the desert or 
exposure  and  freezing  in  the  high  mountains.    In  conversations,  border-area  residents  tell  of 
coming across migrants with feet swollen into oozing black lumps and skin scorched blue-black 
by the sun. 
In  an  attempt  to  abate  deaths,  the  Border  Patrol  began  its  “Border  Safety  Initiative”  in 
June  1998,  adding  rescue  services  to  its  policing  power  and  roles  (General  Accounting  Office 
2006:  9).  The  Border  Patrol  installed  rescue  beacons  in  desert  regions  considered  especially 
dangerous  and  deployed  special  search  and  rescue  teams,  dubbed  BORSTAR  units.
2
  (General 
Accounting  Office  2006:  9).    Alongside  the  paradigm  of  prevention-through-deterrence,  there 
was now a paradigm of death mitigation. Despite these efforts at death mitigation, however, high 
numbers of deaths in zones of diversion persisted (McCombs 2006a: A1). 
 
As for the prevention through deterrence strategy, “the primary discernible effect” was to 
shift  traffic  of  undocumented  migrants  (General  Accounting  Office  2001:  1-2,  28;  see  also 
Carnegie  Endowment  for  International  Peace  2001:  5).    The  policy  of  diversion  also  proved  a 
business  boon  to  smuggling  groups  (Andreas  2001:  116).    Migrants  now  need  smugglers  to 
navigate the border gauntlet (Cornelius 2001: 666, Andreas 2001: 116).   According to a Border 
Patrol  spokesman  in  an  interview,  the  rates  for  a  guide  across  the  desert  have  increased  from 
between $250 and $500 to more than $3,000.
3
  As prices soar, narcotics-trafficking organizations 
are muscling into the now lucrative people-smuggling trade (Cooper 2003; Cornelius 2001: 668).  
                                                                                                                                                             
2. 
Short for Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue. 
3. 
According  to  earlier  academic  accounts,  smuggling  rates  have  tripled  or  more 
from around $200 or $500 to $1,500 or more (Cooper 2003; Cornelius 2001: 668).  For example, 
the trip from  the border  town of Agua Prieta, just  across the  border from Douglas, Arizona, to 
Phoenix, Arizona, used to cost around $200 in 1994 but by 1999 had climbed to $1,500 (Andreas 
2001: 116). 


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