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Immigration News

2010 Deadliest Year For Immigrants Crossing into Arizona

The body count for fiscal 2010, which ends Sept. 30, is the 2nd highest on record said the Coalición de Derechos Humanos (the Human Rights Coalition), which gathers data on border-crossing fatalities in Arizona. 2005 set the record, with 282 bodies recovered.

Kat Rodriguez, coordinator for the non-profit organization said, ‘We’ve passed the number of remains recovered last year.’

The coalition gets data from medical examiners in Pinal, Cochise, Pima, and Yuma counties as well as other sources.

Other advocacy groups for immigrants say they’ve noticed the increasing number of fatalities as well despite the decrease in arrests of illegal border crossers over the last five years.

No More Deaths, a non-profit organization providing humanitarian aid to border crossers, says the past year has been the ‘most lethal’, thirty times worse than in 1999.

The activists and U.S. Border Patrol offer many explanations for the rise in such disheartening figures including:

*Tighter enforcement that resulted in longer treks in the desert for immigrants and smugglers
*Increase in Border Patrol staffing which allows agents to cover previously remote desert areas
*The year’s extremely harsh summer temperatures. With overnight temperatures often over 82 degrees, energy and fluids are depleted even from immigrants that travel after dark.