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Woodburn residents’ son-in-law among seven migrant Oaxacans missing for over a year

An email from one of the ESL teachers with whom I work alerted me to the fact that, for one family I know, the dangers of border crossings have struck really close to home. A family member is among the border crossing casualties of the past year.

Estimates of how many Mexicans die every year attempting to cross into the US for work vary; Border Patrol counts of annual deaths range from 400-500. On the other hand, Baylor University scientists have singlehandedly identified the remains of “some 1,000 cadavers of border-crossers [for] families in Mexico and elsewhere” since 2002, and currently have a backlog of hundreds of bodies they have been unable to identify. [link] Extra-governmental estimates of deaths are sometimes significantly higher.

For this couple, though, the loss isn’t only about statistics. It is their son-in-law who vanished a year ago with six other migrants from a small town in Oaxaca, and after hundreds of phone calls and writing letters to the president of Mexico, they still know nothing of his whereabouts.

This news is deeply sad to me, on every possible level. It speaks of human loss and tragedy and of the violence of the systems we have created and perpetuated, systems in which people are caught and crushed.

Comments

Comment from Lelo
Time: March 5, 2008, 11:43 am

This infuriates me. So wrong, in so many ways. The misappropriated focus on “homeland security” protecting our borders—but only our border with Mexico—is so incredibly racist and wrong. Thank you for sharing this story.