Background 

In 1994 the United States Border Patrol formally implemented the immigration enforcement strategy known as “Prevention Through Deterrence.” This was a policy designed to discourage undocumented migrants from attempting to cross the U.S/Mexico border near urban ports of entry. Closing off these historically frequented crossing points would funnel individuals attempting to cross the border illegally through more remote and depopulated regions where the natural environment would act as a deterrent to movement. It was anticipated that the difficulties people would experience while traversing dozens of miles across what the Border Patrol deemed the “hostile terrain” of places such as the Sonoran desert of Arizona would ultimately discourage migrants from attempting the journey. This strategy failed to deter border crossers and instead, more than six million people have attempted to migrate through the Sonoran desert of Southern Arizona since 2000. At least 3,400 people have died, largely from dehydration and hyperthermia, while attempting this journey through Arizona. In recent years, this policy has shifted people towards Texas, where hundreds (if not thousands) have perished while migrating through unpopulated wilderness. Prevention Through Deterrence is still the primary border enforcement strategy being used on the U.S./Mexico border today