In October 1994, the Immigration and Naturalization Service launched Operation Gatekeeper -- a strategy of militarization that has moved people away from popular suburban migration routes in the San Diego area and forced them into harsh and desolate climates. People who migrate to California must now attempt their crossing through the Imperial Desert or over the Mountains north of Tecate. Despite the hazards of extreme temperatures in the desert and mountains, people have not been deterred from trying to enter the United States to find work. More than 624 people have died crossing the Mexico/California border since Operation Gatekeeper began.
US Corporations and trade agreements such as NAFTA and the proposed FTAA are spurring much of this migration. One of the reasons corporations move their factories to Mexico is to exploit Mexican workers by paying five dollar a DAY wages. Mexican citizens know that if they can make it across the border they could easily earn five dollars an HOUR. Until the people of Mexico have an economic ability that enables them to live comfortably at home, Mexican citizens will continue to migrate any way they can -- even at risk to their lives. (David Hanks/Global Exchange - Saturday 21 April 2001)