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Arizona and Texas see record migrant deaths on Mexico border as temperatures top 43C

Written by on 13/07/2021

Record temperatures in Arizona and Texas have been blamed for a rise in the number of migrants who have died along the US border with Mexico – with many succumbing to exposure.

The non-profit group Humane Borders, which maps the recoveries of bodies in Arizona, said 43 sets of human remains were found in the state’s border region last month – the hottest June on record for Phoenix.

The sun-scorched desert and rugged mountains saw temperatures top 43C (110F).

An asylum seeker holds a child as they are detained by US officials (file pic)
Image: Officials have warned of increased dangers as temperatures soar this summer.(file pic)

Not all those people died in June, but at least 16 had been dead for just a day and another 13 for less than a week when they were found, according to Humane Borders mapping coordinator Mike Kreyche.

The group’s figures include all bodies recovered of people believed to have been migrants and are higher than the number of deaths reported by the Border Patrol, which only counts those it handles in the course of its work.

Mr Kreyche confirmed the 127 sets of remains found during the first half of this year was far higher than the 96 bodies recovered during the same period last year.

This year’s six-month recovery toll also is higher than that of all of 2017, when 123 sets of remains were found near Arizona’s border with Mexico.

More on Arizona

Texas officials say they also have seen an increase in migrant deaths this year.

The Brooks County Sheriff’s Department reported 36 migrant deaths in the first five months of 2021, more than all of last year.

UK Border Patrol official
Image: Texas officials say they also have seen an increase in migrant deaths this year

The growing number of recovered bodies comes as border officials warn of increased dangers as temperatures soar this summer.

Although most migrants now cross through Texas, decades of enforcement there and in California pushes many others into hostile areas of Arizona where water and food is unavailable.

“The desert is vast and treacherous. When you cross illegally, you put yourself in incredible peril,” Sector Chief Patrol Agent Chris Clem said.

“And our hot season is just beginning.”

 Sky News

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