MEXICO CITY – Two state government institutions are studying the possibility of giving Mexican migrants GPS locators that could be used to call the U.S. border patrol for help.
The locators would be given to migrants who are thinking of crossing the border, and would give U.S. border patrol agents the location of those in trouble. The U.S. government has yet to sign off on the project, which is still in the planning stages.
Hundreds of Mexicans are killed each year trying to sneak illegally into the U.S. Many are lost or succumb to heat exhaustion in the desert, while others are killed trying to swim across the Rio Grande river or hide in vehicles.
Supporters of the initiative argue that it could save hundreds of lives. Among those looking at the possibility is Jesus Torreblanca, who works for Puebla state's Commission for the Attention of Migrants.
"This won't guarantee that they won't be detained by the border patrol or face deportation, and it won't keep them from facing risks in the desert," he said Thursday. "It is simply an effort at rescuing people while they are still alive."
He denied that the locators would encourage illegal migration.
"Our main purpose is to show people the enormous dangers they risk in crossing rivers, canals and deserts ... but the phenomenon of immigration is something that can't be stopped overnight," he said.
Mexico's Monterrey Tech University is developing the locators, which would be cheap and easy to carry and activate. They would be handed out for free to migrants.
Torreblanca said the locators might be ready by March.
It was unclear if the U.S. government would approve such a project. In the past, similar campaigns to help migrants in distress have been criticized by U.S. anti-immigration groups as condoning illegal migration.
"The U.S. government has every right to protect its borders anyway it sees necessary," Torreblanca said. "The only thing that we ask is that they respect human rights."For more news on Immigration, click here.