The United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM) declared the United States-Mexico border the deadliest land border crossing after documenting 686 migrant deaths and disappearances in 2022. Tuesday’s announcement noted that the toll of disappearances and deaths of migrants throughout the Americas is the deadliest year. recorded since the launch of the IOM Missing Migrants Project (MMP).
Although data compiled during the Missing Migrant Project’s annual overview showed that deaths and disappearances along the U.S.-Mexico border decreased 6 percent from the previous year, the report indicates that the death toll is likely higher than available information suggests, due to the disappearance of civil servants. data. The death toll does not include information from the Texas border county coroner’s offices and Mexico’s search and rescue agency, Grupo BETA.
Nearly half of all migrant deaths recorded in 2022 along the U.S.-Mexico border occurred during attempts to cross the desolate Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts that cover parts of northern Mexico, Texas and Arizona. Current reports show this area will likely prove deadly in 2023 as well. In August, the Tucson Border Patrol led the nation in migrant deaths – most from heat-related illnesses in isolated desert areas outside of populated cities.
The Border Patrol’s death tally also faces data integrity concerns because migrant death reports compiled by the agency do not include those whose bodies were recovered by other agencies responsible for of law enforcement further inside the border zone that does not involve Border Patrol personnel or resources. in recovery.
The dangers for migrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border begin long before they reach the United States. Along the Darien Gap, a dangerous jungle border crossing between Panama and Colombia, the IOM has noted 141 migrant deaths in 2022. Current immigration figures of migrants attempting to cross the Darien are increasing according to Panamanian government officials.
As Breitbart Texas reported, in August, Maria Isabel Saravia, Panama’s deputy migration director, told reporters that the number of migrants taking the deadly jungle path since January had broken previous annual records. Authorities estimate that the total number of regional crossings could reach 400,000 by the end of the year.
The dangers posed by the jungle include several rivers whose flow increases significantly during the rainy season. The jungle is home to abundant wildlife, including jaguars, pumas and wild pigs. In addition to natural habitat hazards, Darien is home to violent drug and contraband traffickers, paramilitary groups and guerrillas.
Those who manage to cross Darien contribute to the increase in the number of migrants encountered at the southwest border. Border Patrol agents apprehended just under 180,000 migrants in August, according to unofficial reports obtained by Breitbart Texas. This represents an increase of around 35 percent from July and just below the August 2022 total.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as Division Chief of Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations of nine Border Patrol stations in the Del Rio Sector, Texas. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.