Police describe daily deaths of migrants on the US-Mexico border 2:44
(WABNEWS) — Nearly 750 migrants have lost their lives at the southern border so far this fiscal year, a record that exceeds last year’s total by more than 200 people, according to Department of Homeland Security figures shared with WABNEWS. .
Migrants frequently face dangerous terrain crossing the border, including oppressive desert heat, dangerous waters and border wall collapses.RELATED
Since Oct. 1, which marks the start of the fiscal year, there have been 748 deaths, a Homeland Security official told WABNEWS, with a month still to go in the fiscal year. This figure is higher than the 557 deaths recorded on the Southwest border during fiscal year 2021, the previous record.
The numbers don’t always capture all deaths, as other state and local agencies may recover bodies without Border Patrol involvement, meaning the death toll is likely higher.
The bodies of at least eight migrants trying to cross the US border from Mexico were found in the Rio Grande last week, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said.
The remains were discovered by Mexican agents and authorities while they were rescuing other migrants in the river.
Thus a group of immigrants tries to cross from Mexico to the US 2:17
A growing number of migrants continue to arrive at the US-Mexico border as conditions deteriorate in Latin America. Migrant apprehensions along the US southern border this year remained high, even during months when numbers tend to drop, meaning thousands were exposed to even more challenging conditions.
In July, the US Border Patrol made more than 181,000 apprehensions on the southern border of the United States, according to the latest data available from the agency.
In the past, many migrant deaths have been related to heat exposure, according to the Border Patrol.
Migrant advocates say they may be forced to take increasingly risky paths to reach the United States, citing border policies such as a Trump-era pandemic emergency restriction that allows authorities to turn people away at the border.
“Migrants, refugees and entire families are using more remote and dangerous routes to reach the United States,” Fernando Garcia, executive director of the organization Border Network for Human Rights, previously told WABNEWS.
Deaths along the southern border of the United States have been increasing over the years. In fiscal year 2020, there were 247 deaths and 300 in 2019, marking a significant increase amid a record year of 30 border crossings. The agency’s data on deaths goes back to 1998.
Customs and Border Protection declined to comment on the figures but said smugglers are taking advantage of desperate migrants.
“Transnational criminal organizations continue to recklessly endanger the lives of people they traffic for their own financial gain without regard to human life,” CBP said in a statement. “Smuggling organizations are abandoning migrants in remote and dangerous areas, which has led to an increase in the number of rescues, but also, tragically, an increase in the number of deaths. The terrain along the border is extreme, the summer heat is severe, and the miles of desert that migrants must walk after crossing the border in many areas are unforgiving.”
So far this fiscal year, there have been nearly 19,000 searches and rescues along the southern US border, according to CBP, up from 12,833 in fiscal year 2021.