Customs, Border and Immigration News

US-Mexico Border Is World’s Deadliest Land Route For Migrants, Report Shows

The U.S.-Mexico border is the deadliest land route for migrants worldwide, according to a United Nations International Organization Of Migration (IOM) report released Tuesday.

There were 686 deaths and disappearances of migrants on the US-Mexico border in 2022, according to the report. That year also saw the highest level of illegal immigration across the southern border, when federal authorities recorded roughly 2.2 million encounters, according to the Congressional Research Service.

“These alarming figures are a stark reminder of the need for decisive action by States,” Michele Klein Solomon, IOM Regional Director for Regional Director for Central and North America and the Caribbean, said in a statement Tuesday. “Enhancing data collection is crucial. Ultimately, what is needed is for countries to act on the data to ensure safe, regular migration routes are accessible.”

The latest number of migrant deaths at the U.S.-Mexico border accounts for nearly half of the 1,457 migrant deaths and disappearances recorded throughout the Americas in 2022, according to IOM. It was the deadliest year for the Americas as a whole.

Panama’s Darien Gap, a region where roughly 250,000 migrants traversed in 2022 to reach the U.S., saw 141 migrant deaths in 2022, according to IOM. Migrants also went missing in many cases, with 1 in 25 surveyed individuals crossing the Darien reporting someone they traveled with going missing.

“The fact that we know so little about migrants who disappear in the Americas is a grim reality,” Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America, said in a statement Tuesday. “The impacts on the families left behind to search endlessly for a lost loved one are profound.”

Illegal immigration continues to surge at the U.S.-Mexico border, where federal authorities recorded more than 1.6 million encounters with migrants who crossed illegally between October 2022 and July, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Roughly 340,000 migrants have already crossed through the Darien Jungle in 2023, according to IOM’s report.

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