Migration to United States

Credits: Oscar Gomez

According to the Missing Migrants Project of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), as of March 2023, there were 4,354 missing migrants. However, activists believe that the actual death toll may exceed this figure. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recorded an average of 457 migrant deaths and disappearances yearly at the US-Mexico border crossing between 2014 and 2021 (Migrant Rights Network, 2022).

However, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released in 2022 found that CBP has failed to collect, record, and report adequate data on migrant deaths (Government Accountability Office, 2022). 

The IOM’s Missing Migrants Project, which started collecting data in 2014, is considered a more accurate estimate, as it incorporates data from Mexican immigration authorities, medical examiners, and police from border counties on the US side (IOM, 2022). 

US - Mexico Border Encounters

These are numbers of people who cross irregularly

The fiscal year for the federal government begins on October 1 and ends on September 30 of the following year.

Source: Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

The link to the information: is https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/nationwide-encounters  

Migrants Deaths

Non-profit organizations such as Humane Borders have joined IOM’s body count efforts. Through Arizona’s OpenGIS initiative, they collaborated with the Pima County (Arizona) Office of the Medical Examiner to create an updated map for reporting the deaths of migrants. This map provides the exact location where the body of each migrant who is transferred to the morgue was found, along with primary data such as name, gender (if known and if the family was notified), date of discovery, and cause of death.

The Pima and Maricopa County Coroner’s Offices in Arizona determine if the recovered remains belong to undocumented migrants crossing the border. According to data provided by Human Borders, migrant remains have been discovered up to 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of the dividing line, covering a vast territory for search and recovery efforts.

Credits: Oscar Andrade
Credits: Oscar Andrade

The Pima County coroner’s office houses remain of migrants found but not identified, mainly due to a lack of DNA testing for comparisons. If a family has had a loved one missing for several years and suspects they might be among the unidentified remains at the Pima County Coroner’s Office, they should contact the appropriate consulate to begin collecting DNA samples and comparing them with the unidentified remains in the morgue.

"Map of migrant mortality"

Since January 1990, more than 3,600 undocumented immigrants have died within the jurisdiction of the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner (OME), according to the Humane Borders website.