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US border with Mexico becomes deadliest migrant corridor

18 July 20220 comments

The border crossing between the US and Mexico has become the deadliest migration route in the world, according to a new study.

The study, by the Missing Migrants Project and published by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), found at least 1,238 deaths during migration in the Americas in 2021, with at least 728 of those deaths occurring US-Mexico border.

“The number of deaths on the United States-Mexico border last year is significantly higher than in any year prior, even before COVID-19,” the report said.

“Yet, this number remains an undercount due to the diverse challenges for data collection. Our data shows the growing crisis of deaths during migration in the region, and the need to strengthen the forensic capacity of the authorities to identify deaths on these routes,” it said.

“We cannot forget that every single number is a human being with a family who may never know what happened to them.”

The study says the Venezuelan economic crisis is a major factor that has driven people from their home countries and forced them to take “irregular routes, including overseas crossings to Caribbean nations”. 

The dangers of the crossing made headlines recently with the discovery of a truck in San Antonio, Texas, containing 46 dead migrants and 16 who required hospital treatment.

Some of those taken to the hospital died shortly after arrival. 

The victims came from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, highlighting the scope of the migration route and IOM reported that this brought the total number of victims along the border to 493 for 2022 alone. 

US Border Patrol officers have reported record numbers of migrants trying to cross the southern border during the past year, with 239,416 recorded last month and 235,478 the month before that.

And the numbers have continued to grow along with the number of deaths.

The Missing Migrants Project – an initiative of IOM – recorded 854 deaths in 2019 and 798 deaths in 2020, making the 2021 figure a significant increase.

But the project says these numbers do not capture the entire picture due to a lack of official sources to collect data, and meaning that the study’s figures represent a significant undercount.

The study authors called on countries to “honour their commitments to save migrant lives and prevent further deaths and disappearances”.