Activist Offers GPS ‘Life Preservers’ for Illegal Migrants Crossing US-Mexican Border

Lourdes Medrano, Christian Science Monitor, June 2, 2011

A human-rights activist is banking on technology and the good will of those who smuggle migrants across the US-Mexico border to save lives during Arizona’s searing summer.

The Rev. Robin Hoover is working to put GPS devices in the hands of smugglers, known as coyotes, so that they can alert search and rescue if trouble arises as they journey north with their human cargo through an unforgiving desert.

“It’s like giving a life preserver to somebody that’s using a boat,” the reverend says.

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“The best way to save lives is to discourage anyone from attempting the difficult trek in the first place,” he adds.

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So far Hoover has distributed five of the devices south of the border. Each costs about $225. He is convinced that the 100 devices he wants to give out, which he plans to buy with help from donations, will help people survive the rough condition they encounter in remote areas.

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  • Anonymous

    The GPS devices should be specially equipped with tracking beacons to alert border patrol as soon as they’re switched on.

    If you’re going to fight an adversary, deception has to be one of the tools in your arsenal.

  • Tim in Indiana

    Never mind the obvious point that, if you’re truly concerned about migrants surviving their trek through “an unforgiving desert,” the most effective thing would be simply to keep them from entering the desert in the first place.

    Ah, sanity, there’s very little of it in this whole immigration mess.

  • Anonymous

    Wonder how much the coyotes will get when they sell these GPS units?

  • patthemick

    You know we have to be the nicest folks on this planet. We really don’t want criminals to die sneaking into our country.

  • June

    I wonder if the good Reverend knows that what he’s doing is commonly called “aiding and abetting?” He’s correct about discouraging the journey before it begins, but with the Mexican President and our own government in collusion, it won’t happen.

  • Scott Enlow

    It sounds from the article like he is distributing emergency locator beacons that can be activated in an emergency and send a signsl via GPS sattelites to search and rescue pinpointing the location of the device. As opposed to a GPS device for navigation. A regular GPS would not allow the coyotes to “call foe help” as the article states. The loactor beacons are popular with hikers, hunters and others in remote areas. The user pushes a button and the unit begins sending out signsls for help. If thats the case they will be alerting the US officials to their location when they activate the device. They would be rescued most likely but would also likely be deported also. Still I believe it’s a bad idea.

  • Tom UK

    “The best way would be to discourage people from making the trek”. Bingo- dismantle the hideous apparatus that gives free money, food and housing to these parasites and treat them as criminals subject to immediate deportation. Those organising, and aiding and abetting, such organised violation of US law should face harsh punishment.

  • Anonymous

    Coyotes make a profit of $1,000 to $3,000 per person. Surely they can afford their own GPSs? I’m sure they already have them.