As the border crisis rages on and border apprehensions recently hit 1.7 million with less than three months of the fiscal year remaining, the Biden Administration has ceased the longstanding practice of revealing the number of illegal immigrants who die while crossing the Rio Grande, or soon after.
The Rio Grande Valley in Texas and the Tucson Sector in Arizona are the most deadly sections of crossing with the raging river or the intense heat claiming the most lives. Smugglers often leave the injured and sick to die.
Customs and Border Protection has published on its website the number of migrant deaths along the Southern border from fiscal 1998 to fiscal 2020, but has not posted new reports since the Biden Administration took power.
Previous CBP data show 247 illegal immigrants died near the border during fiscal 2020 while 300 died in fiscal 2019.
A report from the Government Accountability Office issued in April said CBP has not “collected and recorded, or reported to Congress, complete data on migrant deaths or disclosed limitations with the data it has reported.”
However, in June alone, 111 illegal immigrants died while crossing into the country or soon after, and 53 more died in a tractor-trailer unit outside San Antonio, according to previously unpublished CBP data revealed by The Epoch Times.
But not all migrant deaths are counted in the CBP data. Sheriff’s offices keep their own tallies of bodies discovered by ranchers, hunters or others.
Brooks County in Texas accounts for many border-related deaths, and sheriff’s deputy Don White of Remote Wildlands Search and Recovery often finds the bodies. So far this year, White has recovered 64 bodies and is set to break last year’s record of 119 recovered from the brush and 11 from non-pursuit traffic situations.
For comparison, 34 bodies were found in 2020.
“A video has surfaced of two men supporting a third man. The third is environmentally stressed, and is not doing well,” White posted on Facebook on June 19. “The two men supporting him are cleaning out his pockets, and putting his personal items in their pockets. Then they walk him off the trail and lay him in the brush. Cruel, if found, the young man will not have an ID.”
White had also discovered a woman who was “stressed and lost.” White searched for the woman at a GPS location she had sent to her parents, but she had moved.
“She sent a new gps location to her husband in Amarillo. He didn’t want authorities to be involved, so he drove down to get her. She was where the gps, he had, said she was. Deceased,” White posted on Facebook on June 12.
“If he would have thought of her life first, and called it in, the outcome would have been different. Shaping up to be a savage summer.”
In addition, the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner in the Tucson sector, another extremely dangerous area for illegal immigrants to cross, has recovered 128 bodies so far this year.
“Since January of 1990, over 3,600 undocumented migrants have died within the Pima County OME jurisdiction,” Nonprofit Group Humane Borders states on its website. “And in any case, many remains will never be found or reported.”
In fiscal year 2021, The Pima County OME recorded 226 body recoveries, the highest number on record.
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