NEW YORK, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- The use of high-tech surveillance systems on the U.S.-Mexico border has contributed to an alarming spike in the deaths of migrants, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is experimenting robotic dogs as part of new high-tech surveillance systems in the Arizona desert along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to researchers.
These headless, four-legged and 100-pound "ground drones" would be tasked with looking for migrants within roughly 41,500 square miles.
However, the use of high-tech surveillance systems in the Arizona border region has directly contributed to an alarming spike in the deaths of migrants, according to the latest study from Geoffrey Boyce, academic director of the Earlham College Border Studies Program, and Sam Chambers, a researcher at the University of Arizona.
The study found a roughly 643 percent increase in the rate of mortality in the Arizona border region between 2006 and 2020, since surveillance towers were established.
Migrants had to travel deeper into the Arizona desert, one of the most rugged and dangerous areas in the United States, in order to avoid the U.S. border surveillance system.
Last year set a record for migrant deaths in Arizona border, with the recovery of 226 sets of human remains.
The border-control plan has failed to meaningfully curb or deter migration but has actively funneled migrants toward punishingly inhospitable terrain, the researchers said.
"Yet despite the fact that, annually, hundreds of people die crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, millions more continue to attempt this hazardous journey every year," they noted.
The researchers called for dropping the high-tech surveillance programs, adding that money could be spent to address the root causes of violence, inequality, and political and economic instability in migrants' countries of origin, "with investments in infrastructures that would allow people on both sides of the border to not only survive but also thrive." ■