“The bodies of an unusually large number of migrants who died in Arizona’s borderlands are being recovered this summer amid record temperatures in the sun-scorched desert and rugged mountains,” Associated Press reported.
At least 43 sets of human remains were found in the Arizona desert in June, according to data from the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office in Tucson. This June was the hottest ever recorded in Phoenix.
The hot weather is endangering migrants as they attempt to make the trek north into the United States, which has taken a 180 degree turn in immigration policy since President Joe Biden took office. Migrant crossings have surged without any real condemnation from the Biden administration, after former President Donald J. Trump made closing the border a top priority during his four years in office.
The effects of the new policy are now being observed.
Mike Kreyche, mapping coordinator for the nonprofit Humane Borders, reportedly said that “the 127 sets of remains found during the first half of this year are far higher than the 96 bodies recovered during the same period last year.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) emphasized the danger of crossing into the United States via the Sonoran desert in Arizona. It is much more difficult to cross there than in Texas and California, where most migrants attempt to enter.
“The desert is vast and treacherous. When you cross illegally, you put yourself in incredible peril,” Yuma Sector Chief Patrol Agent Chris T. Clem reportedly said. “And our hot season is just beginning.”
According to the report, though, even officials in Texas are reporting an uptick in migrant deaths in 2021.
“The Brooks County Sheriff’s Department in southern Texas last month reported 36 migrant deaths in the first five months of 2021, more than all of last year,” it said.
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