A Path to America Marked by More and More Bodies

More people have died illegally crossing the southwestern border of the United States in the last 16 years than were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina combined. From October 2000 through September 2016, the Border Patrol documented 6,023 deaths in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas, while more than 4,800 people died in the Sept. 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina.

Local officials and immigrant advocates said the frequency of the deaths amounts to a humanitarian crisis. No other Texas county has discovered more migrant bodies than Brooks County. One day in February 2015, deputies found the bodies of four migrants near a lake called Laguna Salada, their skeletal remains spread across a one-mile area. The four people died separately over the span of months. They just happened to be discovered on the same day. But there are other counties where bodies turn up with stunning regularity, in both Texas and Arizona, the two states with the most deaths.

“If this were any other context, if these were deaths as a result of a mass flood or an earthquake or a major plane crash, people would be talking about this as being a mass disaster,” said Daniel E. Martinez, an assistant professor of sociology at George Washington University and the lead author of a Binational Migration Institute report on migrant deaths in Arizona.
(From Manny Fernandez, NYTimes, 5/4/17