By Leonardo Cervantes
Jacqueline Arellano has worked along the border since 2016, and she has noticed deaths have increased over the years.
During the Equity Matters Speaker Series hosted by the Office of Professional Development Arellano detailed the progression of the border crisis.
Arellano is a co-director for the organization Border Kindness and their water drop program.
The last six years have been chaotic for the political landscape and this has shown up at the border.
While it’s controversial, she gives direct aid along the border. She operates at the California border, from the ocean to Arizona primarily from the San Diego mountains to the desert border of the imperial valley desert.
The Border Kindness group is currently the only organization that is doing water drops.
Every Saturday since the pandemic began they leave around 4 a.m.
They’re the only group that moves the water where it needs to go. They also leave canned food like tuna, beans and food rich in carbohydrates.
The group drops layered clothing and beanies during wintertime. This warm type of clothes is among those, they hand out by the border.
Global migration has become complex.
“People from South America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean are all fleeing their countries.
“A lot of unnatural conditions have been caused due to economic instability all over the world, and resources becoming the mind of very few countries such as this one. Climate change has also played a factor.
“All of these factors together have affected conditions and made certain situations unlivable and unsustainable,” Arellano said.
People are dying in record numbers.
“Every single year is more deadly than the last. People are trying to cross independently to save money, and people aren’t accustomed to the temperatures or landscapes.
People are being exploited by organized groups at the border giving them false information,” Arellano said.
2022 marks the deadliest year for border deaths ever. The new record is 853 deaths in the fiscal year.
“It’s an over 30% increase from the previous year. However, this is only recorded deaths as there is considerable corruption when it comes to recording deaths. There is a political motivation to manipulate the record keeping and classification of deaths,” Arellano said.
The pandemic has made the situation at the border much worse than it was before.
Many countries became economically unstable. In return people left.
“You weren’t able to get employment if you were waiting for asylum at a border city.
“The shelters were going on lockdown and not letting you out. People started trying to get across in different ways which resulted in more deaths,” Arellano said.
In 2020, former president Donald Trump implemented two policies that made the situation worse, Title 42 and the migrant protection protocol.
Title 42 is tied to the pandemic. The United States has the right to refuse entry even to those seeking asylum if there is a public health crisis.
Title 42 only applied to asylum seekers. The migrant protection program was the remain-in-Mexico program.
If people do get across to present their case regardless of country of origin they’re going to get sent back to Mexico to wait for their case.
“We’ve seen people get letters for a court date on a Sunday but if they don’t show up their court date is null and void.
“They get bogus days that are already in the past or they get sent to Texas while they’re in California with a week’s notice,” Arellano said.