The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Death in the Desert

Jul 31, 2017

More than 6,000 human remains have been found in sparsely inhabited areas in the states of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. These people died trying to cross the border between the U.S. and Mexico over the last 17 years, according to a report published in the New York Times.

Pushed by a wall built and a series of laws passed under the Clinton administration, migrants left the highways and traveled in undeveloped areas. In this part of the country that usually means deserts. Many died of hyperthermia, dehydration, or even heart attack, pummeled by the vicious heat–when they weren’t attacked by desert animals, or by the human snakes that traffic along this border.

The 6,000 deaths reported by the border patrol are only a small portion of those who died. In one Texas county alone, 550 corpses were found. But the sheriff estimated that there were probably five times that many people who died in this county since 2001. Multiply that by all the counties involved, and we have a real catastrophe, a humanitarian catastrophe, produced by the policies of the government of the U.S.; under Clinton, Bush and Obama–a policy now continuing under Trump.

Those policies don’t stop migration. People have been forced to leave Mexico and Central America because of severe conditions there–caused by the grip of U.S. companies on their economies. But when people do get here, the threat of deportation hangs over their heads, pushing many to accept rotten wages and terrible working conditions.

The desire of U.S. corporations to make profit–whether by draining the wealth out of Mexico or by taking advantage of the migrants’ desperation if they make it here–is ultimately responsible for the deaths of all those thousands of people who found their graves in forsaken desert gullies.