Although unauthorized border crossings are down to 40-year lows on the United States’ southern border, the deaths of migrants trying to reach the Promised Land are on the upswing in at least one section of the region. That’s according to Miguel Angel Isidro, Mexican counsel in Laredo, Texas. In remarks to the Mexican press, Isidro said 60 migrants have perished in the zone surrounding Laredo and its sister city of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, so far this year.
Of the 60 deaths, 34 were registered on the U.S. side of the border and 26 on the Mexican side. According to Isidro, all the deaths in Mexico were due to drownings in the Rio Grande. The deceased persons recovered in the U.S. succumbed mainly to dehydration, though some drowned in the river or were killed in vehicular accidents, he said.
“The (death toll) is higher than last year’s, when 52 dead migrants were registered, according to Mexican consular sources and reports from the authorities in Nuevo Laredo” Isidro said. “Of those deaths, 30 happened in the desert of Laredo, Texas, and 22 on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande.”
The Mexican diplomatic official attributed the increase in migrant deaths to the tightening of U.S. border security across from once-popular crossings between the Mexican state of Coahuila and the highway that connects to the metropolitan center of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. The blocked access, Isidro said, has forced migrants to attempt dangerous crossings in areas with extremely high temperatures or treacherous waters. The Mexican consulate, he added, has issued warnings advising of the dangers in crossing the territory.
Sources: El Diario de Juarez/Notimex, September 10, 2012. New York Times, September 7, 2012. Article by Julia Preston.