The U.N. on Tuesday declared the U.S.-Mexico border the most lethal land crossing in the world, adding another grim superlative to President Biden’s immigration record.
The International Organization for Migration, the U.N.’s immigration watchdog, tallied 686 deaths and disappearances last year and said that’s probably an undercount, with many deaths going unreported.
Hundreds more died in the Caribbean while trying to reach the U.S.
The IOM declared the deaths a “humanitarian emergency of great dimension.”
While the IOM was looking at 2022 data, figures from Homeland Security indicate that 2023 is shaping up to be even worse.
The Border Patrol’s El Paso, Texas, sector said last week that its death numbers have nearly doubled, from 71 at this point in fiscal 2022 to 131 in 2023.
The U.N. said its numbers showed a slight dip in deaths from 2021 to 2022, but added that’s likely due to missing data from Texas border county coroners and from Mexico’s search and rescue agency.
Michele Klein Solomon, the IOM’s regional director for North and Central America, said governments need to do better at collecting data and must take “decisive action” to stop the deaths.
“Ultimately, what is needed is for countries to act on the data to ensure safe, regular migration routes are accessible,” she said.