News ID: 209668
Published: 1138 GMT February 08, 2018

Migrant deaths at US borders rise under Trump: IOM

Migrant deaths at US borders rise under Trump: IOM

More migrants have died on US borders since the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency despite a huge drop in the number of arrests, new government data shows.

The United Nations agency International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Wednesday that it had recorded 412 migrant deaths in 2017, a three-percent increase from the 398 cases the year before, presstv.ir reported.

The main reason for the deaths is thought to be attempts by the migrants to cross the borders through more-remote routes to avoid apprehension. Aside from the life risks, thi would also make it harder for authorities to rescue migrants in case of trouble.

The rise comes despite a sharp decrease in the number of arrests by border security agents over the same period along the 1,954 miles-long border.

According to IOM, Border Patrol authorities detained a total of 341,084 illegal migrants in 2017, compared to 611,689 arrests in 2016.

“The increase in deaths is especially concerning, as the available data indicate that far fewer migrants entered the US via its border with Mexico in the last year,” said Frank Laczko, IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Center Director.

The state of Texas recorded the highest number of deaths at 191, compared to 151 cases from a year earlier.

IOM’s Mexico office said the increase is likely to be the result of heavy rains that have made crossing the Rio Grande river more life threatening as waters flow faster and deeper.

The IOM was still looking to find explanations for deaths in other places although it stated that high temperatures might have played a role.

 The real number of deaths seems to be higher as the IOM report noted that data on migrant deaths remained fragmented and incomplete.

Apparently, the US border authorities only report deaths that they deal with directly, according to IOM’s Missing Migrant Project coordinator Julia Black noted.

Trump pledged during campaign that he would crack down on illegal immigration by building a “big and beautiful” wall across the southern border. He has also signed executive orders that call for the hiring of 5,000 more Border Patrol agents and 10,000 more immigration officers.

   
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