More Than 235 Die in 2007, As Arizona Border Battle Heats Up

For the fifth straight year the number of bodies recovered from the Arizona desert surpassed two hundred. While 235 bodies were recovered in calendar year 2007, the number who actually died was likely much higher, their bodies to lie in wake among the thousands of square miles of desert along the migrant trail.

In 2007 the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office had to open a new building in order to cope with the volume of remains being recovered. While the majority of deaths occurred as the result of exposure to the elements, an increasing number resulted from trauma, including gunshot wounds. In spite of this humanitarian crisis, which Arizona human rights groups such as the Coalición de Derechos Humanos and No More Deaths argue is a direct result of the militarization of the U.S. / Mexico border, border militarization and internal enforcement continue to grow.

On January 1st Arizona's new employer sanctions law will go into effect, allowing the business license of any company found employing undocumented workers to be revoked. Many fear this will provide another weapon to racist organizations like the Maricopa County Sherriff's Office, with which to target the state's hispanic community.

In Phoenix, the Pruitt's Furniture Store boycott is entering its third month. Weekly demonstrations there have grown more heated, as hundreds on both sides of the immigration debate have squared off.

Construction continues on the San Pedro River border wall, in violation of 19 federal laws and a judicial restraining order. Earlier this month a constitutional challenge was thrown out of Federal Court against the REAL ID Act, which provided the Department of Homeland Security the authority to overrule the judiciary and ignore all environmental, cultural and public input laws.

Near the border, fear-mongering and profiteering continue, as rural and indigenous communities are terrorized by DHS surveillance cameras and an occupying army of Border Patrol.

Meanwhile, the deathtoll of the U.S.'s deadly border policy continues to grow, with no end in sight. Click here for a complete list of border crossers recovered in Arizona in 2007, including names and causes of death.

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