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Archive for Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Mexican videos warn of danger in crossing border

July 11, 2001

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— "Don't take the risk." "Think hard about it." Those were among the videotaped warnings Mexico began running Tuesday on U.S. border-bound buses, hoping stem a growing tide of migrant deaths.

The advertisements, which debuted on more than 5,200 buses heading toward the border, focus on the perils of border-crossing, which include treacherous terrain, scorching desert and immigrant smugglers who sometimes abandon migrants to die.

The message in some is blunt: "Don't go."

"We want to inundate Mexico with the message," Juan Hernandez, head of President Vincente Fox's Office for Mexicans Abroad, said at a news conference where he unveiled the four new video advertisements.

Mexico's government says 491 Mexicans died trying to cross the border last year. More than 160 have died so far this year including 14 migrants whose bodies were found in late May in the Arizona desert.

The advertisements offer grim warnings of death and illness to discourage illegal immigration while encouraging those who do make the journey to send money back home.

"The border today is very dangerous," Hernandez says on one of the spots, which show scenes of migrants slipping through a tunnel and border fences marked with crosses memorializing those who have died.

"The message I bring you is to think hard about it," one of the messages warns. "Don't take the risk. People do die at the border; it's a reality."

The Estrella Blanca bus line has agreed to show the spots, which run from about 40 to 70 seconds, along with regular feature films on 5,200 buses in Mexico. The bus company said 350,000 people a month ride the buses.

Hernandez said some bus operators in the United States had offered to show the spots as well.

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