Pelley began the story by proclaiming: "In the California desert, in a field of mud, is a graveyard that is hard to imagine in America. Bricks mark the final resting place of hundreds of human beings, identities unknown. They died traveling to America in search of a life better than their home countries could offer." Moments later, Pelley explained: "While the canal is a death trap, it is also a lifeline for the nation....Two thirds of our winter fruits and vegetables are grown with this water. But half of the people who pick those crops are illegal immigrants. To get the jobs created by the canal, they cross the canal, usually at night on makeshift rafts or using plastic jugs for flotation."
It did not take long to for Pelley place blame for drownings, not on those crossing the border illegally, but on those operating the canal: "The water is 225 feet across, 20 feet deep, with almost no rescue lines or climb-out ladders, safety devices that you would find in some other canals....management is controlled by a regional authority called the Imperial Irrigation District....They've taken votes, commissioned studies, but done almost nothing."