More than 830 migrants died at the southern border of the United States in fiscal year 2022, which represents a record that exceeds last year’s total, according to an official from the Department of Homeland Security.
Migrants often face treacherous terrain in their attempts to cross the border, including intense desert heat, dangerous waters and falls from the border wall.
“Transnational criminal organizations continue to recklessly endanger the lives of the people they transport for their own financial gain, without regard to the human costs,” said US Customs and Border Protection. English acronym) in a statement. “Smuggling organizations are abandoning migrants in remote and dangerous areas, leading to an increase in the number of rescues but also, tragically, an increase in the number of deaths.”
CBP has not yet released final death figures, noting that the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility is still conducting its review as mandated by Congress.
Even so, the figures do not always reflect all the deaths that have occurred per year. Other state and local agencies sometimes recover bodies without Border Patrol involvement, meaning the death toll is likely higher.
An increasing number of migrants continue to arrive at the US-Mexico border as conditions deteriorate in Latin America. U.S. border authorities encountered more than 2 million migrants, some of whom attempted to cross the border more than once, in fiscal year 2022, according to CBP data, marking the highest number of encounters in any recorded fiscal year.
Migrant arrests along the southern US border this year remained high, even during months when numbers typically drop, meaning thousands were exposed to even more difficult situations. In the past, many migrant deaths have been related to heat exposure, the Border Patrol reported.
Immigrant advocates say immigrants may be forced down increasingly risky paths to reach the US, citing a Trump-era pandemic emergency restriction that allows authorities to turn away people at the border.