A United Nations agency has declared that the U.S.-Mexico border is the most dangerous land route for migrants.
On Tuesday, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) revealed that it had documented 686 deaths and disappearances of migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border in 2022. This accounts for almost half of all migrant deaths and disappearances in the Americas last year, making it the deadliest year on record since data collection began in 2014.
“These alarming figures serve as a sobering reminder of the urgent need for action by governments,” stated Michele Klein Solomon, Regional Director for Central and North America and the Caribbean at IOM. “Improving data collection is critical. Ultimately, countries must act upon this data to ensure the availability of safe and regular migration routes.”
The organization also noted that the actual number of deaths and disappearances is likely higher due to underreporting caused by a lack of official data.
About half of the deaths along the US-Mexico border were associated with crossing the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts. The report also discovered an increase in deaths along migration routes in the Caribbean, such as those originating from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Cuba. There were 350 documented deaths in the Caribbean last year, compared to 245 deaths the preceding year.
Furthermore, the report mentioned that there were 141 documented migrant deaths in the “inhospitable jungle border” between Panama and Colombia, but the true figure may be inaccurate due to the dangerous nature of the area and the prevalence of criminal gangs.
Marcelo Pisani, Regional Director for South America at IOM, stated, “The fact that we know so little about missing migrants in the Americas is a distressing reality. The impact on families left to tirelessly search for their lost loved ones is profound.”
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