View Full Version : Mexico to give boarder crossers survival kits

keg in kc
05-21-2001, 06:20 PM
From the Orange County Register (http://www.ocregister.com/sitearchives/2001/5/16/news/16emigratecci4.shtml)

Mexico to give border crossers survival kits

Critics say packages of medicine and food encourage illegal entry.

May 16, 2001

For the Register

MEXICO CITY - If it can't stop emigration to the United States, the Mexican government thinks at least its people shouldn't die in the process.

So starting next month, the government will distribute up to 200,000 survival kits to people planning to head north.

The kits will contain medicine and information to prepare emigrants for what they face on the trip, which usually includes a trek through the remote deserts and mountains of Arizona or California because of increased U.S. border security.

The packets will include anti-diarrheal medicine, adhesive bandages, aspirin, acetaminophen, medicine for snake and scorpion bites, powder to prevent dehydration, water, salt, dry meat, cans of tuna and granola.

Women will receive 25 birth-control pills, men 25 condoms. AIDS is a small but growing problem in rural Mexico. It is spread mostly by men who contract the virus in the United States, then infect women back home.

The program will train hundreds of volunteers - people who already make a yearly trek north - in first aid and emergency health care. The volunteers will be given surgery soap, sutures for sewing wounds, thermometers, gauze, cotton and other implements to attend to migrants' medical problems.

The $2 million program, known as "Vete Sano, Regresa Sano" (Leave Healthy, Return Healthy), will begin June 15. It is funded by the Mexican government, which also is seeking funding from the California Endowment, a Woodland Hills-based health foundation. The endowment has set aside $50 million for programs that improve the health of California farm workers, part of that to be used in conjunction with the Mexican government.

"The concept is fascinating and consistent with the kind of commitment this (money) would support," said Dr. Robert Ross, California Endowment president and a former San Diego County health director. "We are very committed to working with Mexican public-health officials."

Officials from the endowment and the Mexican government met Tuesday in San Diego. Even without the endowment's support, the program will proceed but on a smaller scale, Mexican officials said. Training for volunteers is already under way.

Rather than save lives, however, critics said the program will encourage illegal immigration.

"Why don't they stop them from coming?" asked Barbara Coe of Huntington Beach, chairwoman of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform. "It's aiding and abetting lawbreakers."

Among other things, the program will include tips on maintaining self-esteem and on Asian meditation techniques to combat depression, stress and anxiety in a country they have entered illegally and without speaking the language.

"Those who've gone to the U.S. have told us of their experiences. This is what they've told us they need," said Dr. Angel Flores, chief of community action for the Mexican Institute of Social Security, which has a network of 3,000 rural health workers who will distribute the kits.

Last year, at least 490 Mexicans died crossing the 1,952-mile border, according to the Mexican government. So far this year, emigrants crossing the border have been dying at a rate of about one a day, though officials say the toll rises in the summer.

Gloria Chavez, spokeswoman for the San Diego sector of the U.S. Border Patrol, said that, while she was not familiar with the survival-kit plan, it sounds like a good idea. Since 1998, she said, U.S. Border Patrol agents have carried energy drinks, blankets and other emergency supplies to treat such ailments as dehydration and hypothermia among the border crossers.

"Our mission is to prevent deaths," Chavez said.

The packets and health workshops are to be presented to 369 of Mexico's poorest municipalities, mostly in Oaxaca, Michoacan, Zacatecas and Jalisco states.

A committee of doctors and health workers formed by the government's newly established Office for Mexicans Abroad came up with the idea. Director Juan Hernandez acknowledged the kit might appear to encourage illegal immigration and thus be controversial.

"We're not going to close our eyes," he said. "We have individuals with needs, and they are dying at the border."

The survival kits have never been tried before. The biggest obstacle to their success could be the people they're intended to help.

"This could help avoid many deaths. But if you ask emigrants, 70 percent of them don't see any risks," said Jorge Santibanez, president of El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, a state university in Tijuana, who helped design the program. "They're not conscious of the risks. So if the kit isn't accompanied with education on how to use it and why it's necessary, it won't be used."

For many years, the Mexican government ignored the emigrants' plight. Emigrants complained of being ripped off by police when they returned home and treated like traitors by the government for leaving to make a living in the United States.

The survival packets are the bluntest sign yet of a change in attitude under the administration of President Vicente Fox.

"It reflects a reality that has rarely been reflected officially," Santibanez said. "Mexico avoided actions that could appear to be helping migrants leave. There was a kind of self-censorship: What will the U.S. say if we look like we're helping them leave? This self-censorship has disappeared. This is very positive."

Rick Stephens
05-21-2001, 06:29 PM
This is a very bad idea. What is Mexico going to give them next a gun. It is time for the United States to put a stop to illegal immigration from Mexico.

05-21-2001, 06:31 PM
Thank God I'm off an another moving run. No thanks on this one.

Tomahawk 11
05-21-2001, 10:16 PM

I have a friend who works for the Border Patrol if you are interested in an application.

It's not like I want them to die and I am sure they all have a sad story. Why doesn't their gov't just start a shuttle bus for crying out loud?!

05-21-2001, 10:20 PM
Do those survival kits include bullet proof vests?

05-21-2001, 11:01 PM
Why is it everytime this country feels threatened by something, the initial knee-jerk reaction of "let's put a stop to it!" always seems to prevail: ie;prohibition, Vietnam war protests, the War on Drugs (this blunder encompasses an entire spectrum of blunders, and I will speak no more of it)-and billions of dollars and countless victims later, ...oops! Back to the drawing board. Same thing will happen with illegal immigration-and I for one would not be a happy camper if the Feds give border patrol employees more free rein in cracking down-it would just mean more victims, both Mexican and American.

Chiefs Pantalones
05-21-2001, 11:05 PM
I don't know about you guys, but I find this quite funny! :D


started laughing when I first read the topic:D

Chiefs Pantalones
05-21-2001, 11:10 PM
LOL! :D I'm still laughing!


funny stuff

Rick Stephens
05-21-2001, 11:18 PM

These people come here illegally. We have laws in this country and it is time to enforce the law. If we must use our military to protect our borders so be it.:D

05-21-2001, 11:19 PM
BTW, I was just kidding with the bulletproof vest comment (keep laughing Cody) but I do not take kindly to ILLEGAL border crossing.

This does remind me a lot of the decision to pass condoms out because of the theory that kids are going to have sex anyway, why not help them do it safely...

Chiefs Pantalones
05-21-2001, 11:24 PM

Don't worry about that, I am! :D

"Mexico to give boarder crossers survival kits" That is too funny!


are we (DW) the only ones that think this is funny! Oh my, this is good!

05-21-2001, 11:34 PM
Actually if you think about it, it would make a hell of a reality TV series. You want Survivor? Set up land mines, dispatch snipers, and let some wild animals loose on the border, give those guys their survival kit, and watch them go. Whoever makes it across the border first gets 1 million pesos and a one way ticket to Tiajuana...

Chiefs Pantalones
05-21-2001, 11:39 PM




Rick Stephens
05-21-2001, 11:45 PM

I think your on to something there! Maybe have a reigning champion. After being returned to Tiajuana he could decide if he wanted to come back the following week and try it again to double his pesos. :D

Chiefs Pantalones
05-21-2001, 11:46 PM

Oh man! What you said, you can't top that! That is hilarious! With that, I'm going to go to bed now, so I can leave laughing!! Oh man!! I'm sorry, but that is too good! Good night, DW, and all.


lol! :D

sorry, but I pictured a bunch of mexicans crossing the border getting shot at, and a survivor theme song being played in the back round! OH geez!!! :D

g'night all!

Chiefs Pantalones
05-21-2001, 11:51 PM

That would be great! I think you guys should call CBS and inform them of this! It would be the new Survivor series!....

The series should be called... "Survivor, the Mexican Shortcut"!!!


hey, it could happen

Chiefs Pantalones
05-21-2001, 11:52 PM
Good night, DW, and Rick, and everyone, talk to you all later

Bob Dole
05-22-2001, 05:15 AM
They should just put little tracking chips in the survival kits...or dye the things with some IR dye.

Or going with the already presented theme:

Put a token with an assigned dollar value in each survival kit. Properly train all welfare recipients in border states, take away their welfare checks, and pay them instead for each illegal turned in with a token. Make the hunters wear little helmets with cameras on them and tape the action, then sell the footage to Fox, using the tape sale revenues to fund the payoffs. Maybe partner with the WWF and have celebrity hunters as well. (Bring in Stephen King as a consultant on this part.)

It would put welfare recipients to work, paying them with something other than tax dollars, cut down on the successful illegal immigrant crossings, and provide couch dwellers with entertainment.

Mile High Mania
05-22-2001, 07:03 AM
Ok, then I want someone to help me cross the border illegally into Canada. I only need a few things in my survival kit... I'd like some warm socks, a map, 12 pk of Molson and 1 week's strip club allowance. I hear their 'clubs' up there are incredible.

This really drives me nuts. The Mexican govt can't help their people, but they can afford to pay for up to 200,000 survival kits? I saw a report on the news a few weeks ago about what these people do to the lands they are crossing. It's pretty bad - tearing down fences, littering ranches with clothing/food/needles.

Oh, and don't even get me started on what happens to the cities in which these people land... they don't speak english and they're taking all the good roofing and brick laying jobs. Good lord.

Historically, I've been a liberal about most issues... however, I'm out on these guys illegally crossing the border. Sure, it probably sucks down there, but that doesn't mean they have the right to do what they're doing.

Isn't Bush the man with the plan... hell, they're messin' with Texas. What's he going to do about this one, eh?

Lightning Rod
05-22-2001, 12:57 PM
Wouldn't teaching them to read and speak English be a better survival kit?

Well I guess since the KCMO School District can't figure out how to do it with their students , It would be a bit much to ask of the Mexican Government.

Rod- very un-PC today

Chiefs Pantalones
05-22-2001, 09:40 PM
Bob Dole,

Good thought out lay-out you got there! You should report that to CBS or Fox. Or heck, go to all the networks!


man, when I logged on and looked at the topic again, I started to laugh again!!! :D

05-22-2001, 09:52 PM
Uh - that won't buy you a used Honda these days. You'll have to increase the incentive a little, I believe. ;)

05-22-2001, 10:24 PM
In a letter to the editor in the Nashville Tennessean, someone suggested they might as well put Tennessee driver's licenses in the survival kits.

05-23-2001, 11:43 PM
12 people died (4 more missing) from heat exposure today near Yuma, AZ while crossing the border. 74 people died in AZ in the last year.

Humanitarian efforts such as providing water stations and survival kits to immigrants along crossing routes are just that, humane.

There are lots of ways to discourage border crossing, NAFTA is a big part of an economic solution. Helping to provide an improved economy in Mexico is probably the most effective way of stopping illeagal immigration.

Do you really think these people want to be in the US? You try leaving your family, paying months worth of salary to a smuggler (who provides you with a less than 80-90% guarantee of ever reaching your destination alive), risking your life by hoofing it through hundreds of miles of desert in 120 degree heat. For a job? That's dedication. People in this country (maybe even some on this board) aren't willing to get up before 10am or drive across town to work.

I can't argue that there is a problem and a solution is needed... But complaining that the governement needs to barricade the border, saying that they need to learn to speak english, complaining that they are stealing jobs contribute nothing to a solution or even a productive discussion.

I believe that enforcing existing employment laws (preventing roofers from hiring illeagally), reducing isolationist economic policies and moving towards a globally integrated economy rather than fearing one are all ways to help address these and a whole host of other related issues.

Personally, I am a little disgusted by some people's attitudes on this topic, but reluctantly I will admit that everyone is certainly entitled to an opinion.

05-23-2001, 11:58 PM

I don't believe in humanitarian aid for illegal activity. Period. This isn't the same as relief efforts to nations that we have differences with... this aid is going DIRECTLY to people deliberately breaking our laws.

That being said, I also don't think that handing out "survival kits" is going to cause an increase in illegal immigration. With or without them, the problem exists because these people are desperate. You don't make a HUGE decision like this based on whether your govt. is willing to give you a bag with cookies and milk for the trip.

The problem I have is that the funds used could be put into education programs or something that may actually *help* these people to help themselves.

It is sad that people are dying, but "survival kits" and water stations are typical of todays society. We address the symptoms and not the problem... it is much more gratifying for our 30 second attention spans.


05-24-2001, 12:05 AM
My Solution:

first offense: ship 'em home or give them a choice of going to "border camp"
second offense: no choice immediately sent to "border camp"

"border camp" would be a forced labor and reeducation facility set up similar to a prison... but focusing on education and work skills. It would need initial funding... then be paid for ENTIRELY by the illegals fulfilling a work "contract" to the camp. After which time they are free to return home... or stay working at the camp.


(ok... I know it wouldn't work but it's the best I can come up with... short of annexing Mexico and completely overhauling their political structure)

05-24-2001, 12:42 AM
Austin chief-that is a good concept-as opposed to the "let's put a stop to it!!' mentality(see post #5). One thing that concerns me however, is that if a lot of big companies continue using criminal records (pot possession, DUI, etc) as a criteria for hiring employees, there may be not enough potential people in the work force to fill the jobs needed-hence "You can find it in aisle cinq, er, aise five."

05-24-2001, 12:52 AM

Thanks for being thoughtful. Although I do disagree...

1) Border camp = slave labor?: Sounds a bit like slavery, and talk about a waste of money... $2 Million of Mexico's money for survival gear. Or many more millions of your own tax dollars for border camp. Mexico is addresssing a health and welfare issue. It's not that these people are unskilled, it that American jobs pay scales are out of whack with Mexican pay scales. Slave labor and job training won't keep them from returning.

2) Goverment sponsored lawbreakers?: I might begin to see your argument about gov'ts sponsoring illegal activity if it were US tax dollars being spent on kits or Mexican laws that were being violated. But as far as I am aware, Mexico is paying the 2 Million dollars and there are no laws prohibiting Mexicans from leaving their country. So in reality there is absolutly no sponsorship of any illegal activity.

3) Patience is needed:. Mexico's government has been completely overhauled in the last 10 years, without any US annexation. Economic reforms and cultural changes are more of a form of evolution than revolution. Certain actions (NAFTA) can have dramatic long term impact, but require patience.

4) Complex problems often require multiple solutions: This problem (mass dissatification of Mexican quality of life) is not a one dimensional issue. Building big fences or shooting or even imprisoning people will do nothing useful. But a combination of economic reform (improve the standard of living in Mexico) AND provide humanitarian aid AND enforce borders (for their own safety and our own security).... A combined of approach can have a lasting impact.

5) Isolation is negative: I am worried about our isolationist political policies that seem to have been signaled in the early days of the Bush administration (Bush openly saying that the US and China are adversaries, that was just plain stupid). If we continue down that path, we as a nation and the world population as a whole are taking a step backwards.

6) Open the Borders Someday: Ideally there would be no need for border enforcement between economically equivilant nations with peaceful and strong political relationships. Ideally, I don't think it should be illeagal or even difficult to get a job in another country. The larger and more sophisticated a group becomes the more resources we have to grow and evolve as a society.

7) Time Travel (aka it's getting late): I have an entire philosphy on societal evolution involving theoretical physics, space travel(maybe time travel), human evolution and advanced energy sources, but it's kinda kooky, it's late, and I am a bit off topic, so I will leave that for another day.

G'night all.

05-24-2001, 01:06 AM

Okay here goes...

1. Ideally... it would pay for itself... (OK a stretch and I know it)

2. Come on! As soon as they cross the border they are breaking the law... and these kits are for people intending to break the law. We both know that it IS sponsoring illegal activity... at the very least - indirectly.

3. I don't know how much exposure you have had to the upper class in Mexico or govt. there... but it is NOT a pretty picture. RADICAL change will have to occur there... and yes time is required... but what do we do in the meantime?

4. Agreed (As long as the humitarian aid is geared towards helping Mexicans IN Mexico)

5. Agreed.

6. Agreed.

7. Huh?!?


Rick Stephens
05-24-2001, 01:07 AM

The United States is a nation of laws. When these people cross our borders illegally they have broken the laws of our nation. If they want to come here, then file the necessary paper work and come the legal way. These people who pay someone to smuggle them across the desert and border are criminals. We should not be using the American tax payers money to help these criminals.

You ask do they really want to be here, well they must want to be here or they wouldn't enter our country illegally. I don't think it is the responsibility of the United States to take care of the people who illegally our country. We did not ask them to risk their life in the desert. They are the ones who chose to do this and as sad as it may be, if they die in the desert it is no ones fault but their own.

The money Mexico would spend on these survival kits would be better spent trying to help the people of their own country.

You say that it is not against the law to leave Mexico, that may be, but it is ILLEGAL to sneak across the border and by Mexico providing "Survival Kits" this is encourageing illegal activity which is encouraged by the Mexican government.

05-24-2001, 01:52 AM
1) I don't believe the US governemt is paying any money towards this program.

2) Providing survivial kits has only just begun. To claim that it "encourages" crossing the border would require that more people will attempt to cross as a result. Since this has only just begun, it is premature to make any claims. We don't know what the impact will be, but we do know that water would have saved the lives to 12 people today.

3) I agree with the comparison to the programs of passing out needles or condoms we have sponsored in the past. It doesn't solve the problem of drug addiction, but to ignore a reality (border crossing, sex, drug use) and the threats associated with it (disease, death) is short sighted.

4) I suspect that passing out survival kits won't have a statistically significant impact on border crossing, but it can have a clear impact on life and death. At no cost to the american tax payers, I think it is pretty much a non issue.

Your "huh?" is valid. I will get into it another day. Kooky but intersting. On a not unrelated note.

5) I think the real issue is the global economy... countries working together towards a common purpose (space travel, scientific research, human rights, etc...). Free trade promotes a common world economy with a more univeral standard of living. That inturn will help to eliminate the need for restricted international employment and over protected borders. It doesn't have to (and IMO shouldn't) be illegal to cross the border and work in San Diego or Phoenix.

Rick Stephens
05-24-2001, 07:19 AM

The 12 people who lost their life would still be alive today HAD they obeyed the law. It is not the responsibility of the United States to take care of these people. They chose to disreguard the laws and paid with it by losing their life. No fault of the United States. They do not BELONG here. There are LEGAL ways to enter our country and there are ILLEGAL ways to enter our country. If one attempts to enter our country ILLEGALLY and loses their life one can blame themselves.

Tell me how Mexico can afford to give out "survival kits" to these criminals who cross our border illegally but can not afford to help the citizens of Mexico become more productive citizens of their own country? All Mexico is doing is encourageing people to risk their lives and if these people die in the desert one can only blame the Mexican government by encourageing this activity.

05-24-2001, 08:58 AM

1) As far as I know, the US government is NOT i repeat NOT "Tak(ing) Care" of these people. None of this has anything to do with the US goverment. It has everything to do with their own goverment. You keep repeating this claim as if I haven't already addressed it. Maybe there is something that I am missing. If so, please explain further... If not, why do you keep repeating it?

2) I think we will continue to disagree on the point of encouraging illegal activity. I see your point, I will assume you see mine. I'm moving on for now.

3) $2 Million is pennies to a government and a national or international economy. IMO, a small figure like $2M can have a greater impact doing something direct (yet small) like survival kits which in turn can have the preventative effect of reducing future medical and emergency spending by both US and Mexican governments (treating AIDS, search and rescue). Using 2M for something indirect is like putting another drop in the bucket. Nearly insignificant.

4) I tried to aknowledge this point once before, but I think it got lost. This money ($2M) should only be permitted without objection by the US, if it is done as part of a package and accopanied by strategic investment by Mexico, US, others (ie. buying Mexican oil instead of Iraqi oil) in political and economic reforms that.

I am trying to take this discussion beyond complaints and racial insults by asking you and anyone else to contribute potential solutions. I am open to your new ideas.

05-24-2001, 10:27 AM
Country's financial future appears bright - yet the mood of many people is decidedly dark
By Mark Stevenson

MEXICO CITY - The peso is soaring against the dollar, foreign investment is hitting unprecedented highs in Mexico and the nation is vying for an influential world leadership position.

It all has many Mexicans worried and suspicious.

Just six years ago, Mexico displayed eerily similar signs of strength and optimism - and its currency and economy soon plunged.

The boom-bust phenomenon has hit Mexico four times in the last two decades.

"There's a lot of distrust out there," said Mexico City writer Guadalupe Loeza, whose books have chronicled Mexico's survival through the ups and downs.

The latest anxiety in Mexico contrasts with assurances by outside investors that its economy is among the most attractive in Latin America.

In late 1994, the peso was climbing against the dollar, then-President Carlos Salinas de Gortari jetted around the world pursuing the presidency of the World Trade Organization and foreign investors snapped up Mexican government bonds bearing high interest rates.

But the peso, propped up by the government at a time when monetary reserves were shrinking, soon crashed in a stunning reversal of fortune - and foreign investors fled.

Two presidents later, Vicente Fox, who swept into office as Mexico's first victorious opposition candidate and a charismatic free-market reformer, has fueled an enthusiasm among foreign investors reminiscent of the Salinas years.

Direct foreign investment in Mexico is projected to nearly double this year to $24.5 billion, including last week's $12.5 billion deal by Citigroup to buy Mexico's second-largest bank.

Riding the investment wave, the Mexican peso has advanced 7 percent since the beginning of the year.

Fox is leading Mexico's lobbying effort for a rotating seat on the U.N. Security Council, the powerful global decision-making body.

He talks of Mexico taking "a protagonist role in world affairs" and stimulating economic growth as far south as Panama.

You won't hear him mention joining the industrialized First World, which in Mexico could stir anxious memories of the Salinas vision that came crashing down.

"He'll avoid that phrase like the plague," said writer and pop historian Jose Agustin. "He doesn't want to make that same mistake."

While the recent financial euphoria here can bring back memories, there are important differences - good and bad.

The Mexican economy, which was booming in 1994, is now getting dragged down by the economic slowdown in the United States. Mexico sends 85 percent of its exports to its northern neighbor.

"You hear on the news about all the big money coming in and you think it will create jobs," said teacher Briseida Gonzalez, whose $330 monthly pay won't even cover rent on a decent Mexico City apartment. "But then you talk to relatives and friends, and they're getting laid off."

On a positive note, Mexico's foreign reserves are now about $40 billion, compared with only $3 billion at the end of 1994.

Mexico also boasts a lower budget deficit and less debt.

All of which leads experts to say the kind of debt crunch and insolvency of 1994 won't happen again.

Mexicans, many of whom lost their homes and jobs in 1994, aren't buying it.

"They always say that," said Ignacio Campos, a 44-year-old chauffeur who managed back then to keep his job. "But from experience, you know it could happen at any moment."

Mexican businesses, which export $100 billion a year, also are pessimistic. The strong peso is pushing up the price of their products abroad, hurting competitiveness.

Adding to nervousness, more foreign investors are speculating on risky, high-interest Mexican government bonds.

Fox says the strong peso is a reflection of world confidence in Mexico. But a move last Friday by the Bank of Mexico to loosen monetary policy and ease bank lending - a move that typically pushes down a currency's value - reflected concern that the peso is inflated. The action, which resulted in a slight decline in the peso, was welcomed by most analysts.

"It was about time," said Antonio Magana, head of foreign exchange trading at Interacciones brokerage.

Magana, like many analysts, wants to see a gradual drop in the peso to stave off a potential crash.

05-24-2001, 10:41 AM

You have some interesting ideas.

One question I have for everyone though...

What's wrong with opening up the Borders now?

ID everyone that crosses. Give them workers status and stop forcing them to belong to a subculture where they can't retain a respect for our laws, they can't immerse themselves in our society, they can't learn the language (because they have to socialize with other illegals that also don't speak the language), they can't access our dream of improving their lives and that of their children, where they can't feel like they are franchised into our American Dream, etc.

I personally am under the impression that closed borders causes more problems than it solves ~ and we really don't have closed borders anyway. We have all the problems of closed borders (restricted immegration) with non of the advantages of open immegration!

Make the citizenship process harder if you want (then a vote would be more valuable again), restrict government subsidy programs to citizens only, and allow our society, economy, and world influence to grow.

just a thought...

06-18-2001, 03:53 AM

Another turn of events.