Friday, February 2, 2018
NPR reports that the recent arrest of an activist from the group No More Deaths is highlighting the rising number of people who die crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and the challenges that humanitarian workers confront when they try to help. At least 7,209 people have died while illegally crossing the southwestern border over the past 20 years, according to U.S. Border Patrol data, but an investigation by USA Today finds official statistics underestimate the number of deaths. The number is much higher because, for the most part, federal authorities' casualty count does not include people whose remains are recovered by local authorities.
While data reveal that fewer people are unlawfully crossing, more migrants are taking remote and dangerous routes in Arizona due to increased border security at safer crossing points in California and Texas, says Alicia Dinsmore, a volunteer with No More Deaths.
Since 2001, the remains of at least 2,832 migrants have been recovered in southern Arizona, according to the Arizona OpenGIS Initiative for Deceased Migrants. Before the start of the decade, fewer than five dead border crossers were found in Arizona each year; that number jumped to 79 in 2001.