Between increased border security forcing immigrants to travel more remote dangerous routes and unrelenting high temperatures a record number of deaths have been recorded this month. With daytime temperatures as hot as 109 degrees recently, the nighttime has not cooled down enough to give the body any relief.
Forty bodies have been brought into the Arizona Pima County Medical Examiners office this month. The office handles immigrant bodies found in the desert from three counties.
Despite the efforts of humanitarian groups that offer aid for immigrants in distress, public service advertisements warning of the dangers of the desert and 20 border Patrol rescue beacons immigrants can activate for help, the death toll continues to escalate.
“Instead of having one day of a lot of heat, you have day after day after day, and you have a steady stream of people in the desert – people start succumbing, unfortunately,” Erik Pytlak, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said.