The Mexico-U.S. border is among the deadliest in the world
Every year, hundreds of immigrants go missing, are murdered, or die in the Mexico-U.S. border - Photo: Guillermo Arias/AFP

The Mexico-U.S. border is among the deadliest in the world

Inder Bugarin / Corresponsal
Mexico City
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In 2019, President López Obrador toughened Mexico’s stance on migration after Trump threatened the country with new tariffs

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The immigration policies implemented by Mexico and the United States, which toughens the measures against undocumented immigrants, did not have an impact on the mortality rates registered in the Mexico-U.S. border and on the contrary, the number of people who died crossing the Rio Grande stayed the same in 2019, the same year the Mexican government deployed the National Guard to both of its borders to halt immigration.

According to the Missing Migrants Project, under the International Organization for Migration, at least 497 people died in the border between Mexico and the United States in 2019; these numbers show an increase when compared to the 442 deaths in 2018 and quite above the 306 deaths registered in 2014.

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These alarming numbers place Mexico’s northern border among the deadliest routes for immigrants, only behind the Mediterranean route to Europe and of Sub-Saharan Africa, which has been affected by illnesses, armed conflicts, and jihadism.

According to the International Organization for Migration, from the immigrants who died in the Mexico-U.S. border last year, 290 were men, 50 were women, and 25 were minors; the rest of the information has yet to be released. Moreover, the victims come from 15 different countries, including Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, China, Ukraine, India, and Haiti.

In regards to the causes of death, they are mainly associated with extreme weather and environmental conditions. For example, at least 51 people died of hypothermia and hyperthermia and another 128 drowned in the river that separates Mexico and the U.S.

Mexico toughens its stance on migration

According to Julia Black, the head of the Missing Migrants Project, says that the numbers released by the organization are estimates as the program faces “huge difficulties” to gather information, as a result of the lack of support from authorities. Black adds that “the IOM also supposes that, in many cases, the bodies are never found and nobody notifies authorities about these cases.” The IOM does not include the immigrants who die at the hands of authorities while captive.

The researcher explains that “all this shows that migration continues to be dangerous for the people who travel in an irregular way, despite the changes made to migration policies.”

In regards to the border between Mexico and Guatemala, Julia Black explains that it is difficult to analyze the situation because of the lack of information. The report issued by the MMP registered only 3 cases in 2019.

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