In a reprehensible waste of taxpayer funds, a government agency is spending more than $1 million to install floating devices along a canal where hundreds of illegal immigrants have drowned trying to sneak into the United States.
The costly project was inspired by pressure from the mainstream media, which portrayed government officials as “indifferent and callous” that scores of illegal immigrants have died in the canal that runs along the California-Mexico border. More than 100 life-saving buoys have been bolted across the desert waterway in the last few months at a cost of $1.1 million, according to a national news wire.
The floating devices are installed every half mile and each has dozens of orange balls to single them out. Initially they were going to be placed at a 45-degree angle pointing downstream toward Mexico so that anyone who grabbed a line would be pushed south by the current. Human rights advocates fought the plan, arguing that angled lines would be more deadly for determined illegal aliens so the lines are being placed straight across.
Additionally, crews are posting more than 1,400 bilingual signs that warn of dangerous waters. Known as the All-American Canal, the treacherous waterway spans about 82 miles along the southern border near Calexico. It’s operated by the Imperial Irrigation District, a public agency that manages more than 3,000 miles of canals and drains and supplies water for California’s vast agriculture industry.
For years agency officials have resisted installing floating devices along the canal because it would encourage illegal immigrants. Hundreds have died trying to overcome its notoriously powerful currents of up to 30 miles per hour. The local coroner says many of the recovered corpses are so decomposed that they can’t be recognized and no one ever bothers claiming the bodies. About 400 are buried in a nearby town cemetery under the name “John Doe.”
Sad as this may seem, the question remains; should public dollars be wasted on helping foreigners who are violating our nation’s laws or to facilitate their illegal journey in any way? A more appropriate use of resources could be to invest in a human safety campaign similar to one launched by the Mexican Consulate and the San Diego County Water Authority in late 2009. The bilingual message warns that migrants could die crossing “deadly waters” and features graphic photos of those who drowned trying.