Illegal Mexican Americans
Over the past 10 years, traversing the U.S.–Mexico border illegally has become increasingly dangerous for would-be immigrants. Illegal immigrants face kidnapping, murder, and rape at the hands of violent drug cartels and ever more ruthless human smugglers. Crossing treacherous desert areas exposes the travelers to heat exhaustion and dehydration. Hundreds of people die every year trying to cross the border into the U.S. However, illegal immigration is dangerous not only to the illegal immigrants themselves—it is costly to societies and nations as a whole. In order to fight illegal immigration and reduce the toll on human lives, the United States must take a comprehensive approach of increasing border security and improving legal immigration procedures and public diplomacy, as well as fostering reforms and greater efforts to crack down on human smuggling in Latin America. The Heritage Foundation lays out a plan for such an approach.
In August 2010, 72 would-be illegal immigrants from Mexico were lined up and executed, their bodies discovered on a remote ranch a mere 90 miles from the U.S. border. The drug gang responsible for the kidnapping and murders, Los Zetas, captured its victims as they traveled through Tamaulipas, presumably on their way to cross the border illegally into the United States. When the 72 people refused to work for the gang, they were executed.
Violence against illegal border-crossers has become a regular occurrence around land and sea borders over the past decade. Criminal acts committed against illegal immigrants include kidnapping, robbery, extortion, sexual violence, and death at the hands of cartels, smugglers, and even corrupt Mexican government officials. Hundreds of individuals perish trying to cross the U.S. southwest border each year—due to heat exhaustion, drowning, and falling into the hands of the wrong people. In Mexico, violence against illegal immigrants in transit has...