July is closing out this weekend while at the Pima County Arizona medical examiner’s office it will be the worst month for border deaths in the last five years. The staff has been overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of bodies and was forced to make accommodations. A refrigerated truck was brought in to house the additional bodies after the buildings two units were full. The bodies of 57 border crossers have been brought in this month.
Despite Arizona proposing to make it illegal for undocumented immigrants to live and work in the state, immigrants continue to come. These tougher enforcement conditions have forced smugglers and immigrants into more remote, dangerous terrain. Crossing hundreds of miles of desert on foot in record-breaking heat is simply too difficult for many.
The medical examiners office consists of five investigators, six pathologist and one forensic anthropologist with a backlog of more than 150 unidentified remains with one case going back to 1993.