A new study has named the border crossing between the US and Mexico the world’s deadliest migrant land route.
The study, conducted by the Missing Migrants Project and published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), recorded at least 1,238 deaths during migration in the United States in 2021, at least 728 of which occurred along the US-Mexico border.
“Even before COVID-19, the number of deaths along the United States-Mexico border was higher than in any other year last year,” said report author Edwin Vials. “However, this number remains low due to various challenges associated with data collection.”
“Our data shows the growing crisis of deaths during migration in the region and the need to strengthen the forensic capacity of authorities to detect deaths along these routes,” he said. “We can’t forget that every single number is a human being with a family who will never know what happened to them.”
Border Patrol agents in Texas find smuggled migrants inside toolboxes at checkpoint
The study cited Venezuela’s economic crisis as a major factor forcing people to flee their homelands and take “irregular routes, including overseas crossings to Caribbean countries.”
The dangers of the crossing made headlines last week after a tractor-trailer was discovered in San Antonio, Texas, where 46 migrants died and 16 needed immediate hospitalization. Some of those rushed to the hospital died before reaching there.
The victims came from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, highlighting the extent of the migration route. This brings the total number of victims along the border to 493 by 2022, IOM reported.
Border Patrol officials have encountered a record number of migrants trying to cross the southern border in the past year, with 239,416 reported last month and 235,478 the month before that.
The numbers continue to rise and so do the death tolls: the Missing Migrants Project recorded 854 deaths in 2019 and 798 in 2020, making 2021’s number staggering.
But the project stresses that even these numbers don’t capture the whole picture due to a lack of official sources to collect the data, meaning the study’s figures represent a significant undercount.
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The study concluded with a request that countries “respect their commitments… to save migrant lives and prevent further deaths and disappearances”.
Fox News’ Paul Best contributed to this report.