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Migrant Deaths Increase Along Texas-Mexico Border

Local officials keep a refrigerated truck to hold the bodies of migrants who drown in the currents of the Rio Grande while trying to cross the border into the U.S. Across the river, families having picnics or walking along the waterfront promenade of Piedras Negras, Mexico, sometimes see bodies floating by or bobbing among the reeds under a bridge. “We had times when we received four or five bodies a week,” said Hugo González, owner of Funerarias González. “At one point, there were a lot of corpses and there was nowhere to put them. We just didn’t have enough refrigerators at the funeral home.” A spike in deaths along the most dangerous stretches of the U.S.-Mexico border reflects the escalating number of migrants seeking to cross into the U.S. from troubled home countries, reports the Wall Street Journal. At the same time, U.S. immigration policies are allowing fewer of them legal entry.


Many migrants have turned to human smugglers and WhatsApp messages to help them navigate more lightly patrolled—and treacherous—sections of the border to enter illegally. The bodies of more than 890 migrants, a record number, were recovered by U.S. authorities along the border in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, according to the Biden administration, a 58% increase over 2021. They drowned in fast-moving sections of the Rio Grande or, after successfully crossing, died falling from cliffs along mountain passes or from dehydration while lost, said U.S. border agents and police who recover the bodies. Hundreds more were reported missing. In July, 53 migrants were found dead inside the back of a sweltering tractor trailer found parked in San Antonio. U.S. and Mexican authorities estimate that dozens also died last year on the Mexico side of the border or were lost at sea. U.S. Border Patrol agents made a record 2.2 million arrests along the 1,958-mile border in the 2022 fiscal year, up from 1.65 million arrests in 2021.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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