Tell Congress: End Prevention Through Deterrence & Operation Streamline

In 1994, the US Border Patrol implemented the policy of Prevention Through Deterrence, which sought to control the Southwest border by heightening the risks associated with unauthorized entry. To do so, the agency concentrated enforcement and infrastructure to reroute migration away from urban ports of entry and into wilderness areas. By pushing traffic into remote and hostile terrain, the agency speculated that border crossers would now find themselves “in mortal danger” when attempting to enter the US without authorization. The increased danger was intended to then deter other people from considering the journey, with the overall goal of preventing migration.

Over the past 20 years, Prevention Through Deterrence has caused 7,000 known deaths and countless more disappearances. It has failed to halt the mass movement of people without papers into the US interior. However, it has succeeded in proliferating border deaths, disappearances, and informal economies of violence, converting the region into an increasingly deadly arena.

Operation Streamline, a policy begun in 2005, mandates that nearly all undocumented immigrants crossing the Southern border in certain areas be prosecuted through the federal criminal justice system, a departure from previous practices when most immigration cases were handled exclusively within the civil immigration system.  Operation Streamline has exposed undocumented border-crossers crossing to unprecedented rates of incarceration; overburdened the federal criminal justice system; and added enormous costs to the American taxpayer while providing a boon to the for-profit private prison industry.

The crisis of death and disappearance in the southwest borderlands will only end with the dismantling of Prevention Through Deterrence and Operation Streamline and the decriminalization of migration. No More Deaths is asking all supporters to contact your Congress members and ask that they take steps towards ending these destructive and deadly border policies.

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