Maps showing routes into the United States will not be provided to illegal immigrants by a human rights organization, funded by the Mexican government.
Mexico's National Human Rights Commission decided not to hand out 70,000 maps showing highways with pointers to rescue beacons and water tanks. The commission said it was not buckling under U.S. pressure even though the decision came just one day after a strong protest homeland security officials in Washington.
Human rights officials in border states worried that the maps would make locating illegal aliens easier.
Despite the rash of criticism of the U.S. government for not doing more to keep illegal immigrants from crossing the U.S. border, some Americans supported the Mexican effort.
"We urge them to know well the route that they are going and the distances," said the Rev. Robin Hoover, founder of Humane Borders. "If you do go, search for tanks of water beneath the blue flag. That's our flag."
Saving Lives but Breaking the Law?
Supporters of the project say the effort is about saving lives. Last year, more than 400 illegal immigrants died trying to cross the border with Mexico, many from severe heat and dehydration.
"We're just trying to save lives. That's what we are, a faith-based group," said Paul Fuschini, vice president of Humane Borders. "This is a humanitarian effort."
But critics believe that the project is encouraging more people to break the law, and that it may cause more deaths in the process.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff issued a statement saying he opposed the project in the "strongest terms."
"This effort will entice more people to cross, leading to more migrant death," he said.
The U.S. Border Patrol agrees.
"It's not the right thing to do. It's not the right thing to risk to try to get in this country through these very dangerous areas," said David Aguilar, chief of U.S. Border Patrol.
As thousands of illegal immigrants enter the country every day, the issue will likely intensify.