Immigrant deaths in Arizona desert soaring in July

Medical examiner says number could top the single-month record of 68

Topics: Immigration,

A county medical examiner says deaths among illegal immigrants crossing the southern Arizona desert from Mexico are soaring so much this month the office is using a refrigerated truck to store some of the bodies.

Pima County medical examiner Dr. Bruce Parks said Friday that the bodies of 40 illegal immigrants have been brought to his Tucson office since July 1.

At that rate, he says deaths could top the single-month record of 68 in July 2005.

Authorities believe the high number of deaths are likely due to above-average heat and tighter border security that pushes immigrants to more remote terrain.

The deaths occur despite the efforts of the Border Patrol and humanitarian groups to help those in distress.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Deaths among migrants crossing into southern Arizona from Mexico are soaring this month as extreme heat blankets the state, according to a county medical examiner who tracks the fatalities.

The bodies of 38 illegal immigrants have been brought in since July 1, Pima County medical examiner Dr. Bruce Parks said Thursday, with agents headed out to recover four more. If the pace continues it could meet or surpass the single-month record of 68 in July 2005, Parks said.

“I never thought we would see that again,” Parks said. “It’s scary. Maybe the rain will slow these down.”

From Jan. 1 to July 15, the office has handled 132 bodies of illegal border crossers, up from 93 at the same time last year and 102 in 2008.

The Pima County medical center handles border deaths for several southern Arizona counties.

Since 2001, the bodies of more than 1,750 men, women and children have been discovered in the desert or mountains of southern Arizona. Parks’ office has handled about 1,600 of them.

Many experts believe that tighter border security is pushing migrants into ever-more-dangerous territory.

There is widespread evidence that the number of people crossing illegally into Arizona is down substantially, yet deaths have not dropped. Apprehensions in the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector have decreased each of the past five years.



Officials with border-county law enforcement agencies, Mexican consular officials, Tohono O’odham tribal officials and humanitarian groups all point to tighter security as a cause of deaths. More border fencing, technology and agents has caused illegal border crossers to walk farther in more treacherous terrain, increasing the likelihood that people will get hurt or fatigued and left behind to die.

The Border Patrol disagrees that it’s pushing illegal immigrants into more hazardous terrain. The agency points to its rescue efforts as evidence that its presence prevents deaths rather than causes them.

——

Information from: Arizona Daily Star, http://www.azstarnet.com

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>