A Border Patrol report obtained by the Washington Examiner reveals that agents discovered the bodies or remains of 880 migrants in Fiscal Year 2022. The total makes FY22 the deadliest year on record for migrant deaths at the southwest border.
The number of deaths reflected in the data obtained by the Washington Examiner in a FOIA request includes only those recoveries reported by the Border Patrol. The number is likely to be significantly lower than the actual count of deceased migrants as it does not include migrant remains recovered by Mexican authorities or those recovered by authorities away from the border. The news outlet received the data this week after submitting the FOIA request in July 2022.
The Examiner revealed the majority of migrant deaths were recorded in the South Central Region of Texas. Deceased migrant recoveries in the Del Rio Sector of the Border Patrol were highest at 255, followed by the Rio Grande Valley Sector at 210 according to the Examiner.
Reports obtained by Breitbart Texas from the Brooks County Sheriff’s Office located in the Rio Grande Valley Sector reveal the recovery of the bodies or remains of 91 migrants in 2022.
Brooks County Sherriff Benny Martines told Breitbart the number of deaths in his county was probably higher than that, but Border Patrol resources shifted from his county to the Valley likely reduced the number of discoveries.
“Unfortunately, [these deaths are a] consequence of the government’s policies that created the massive influx of people crossing the border illegally into Texas,” Sheriff Martinez told Breitbart. “We continue to see a record number of body recoveries in our county.”
Brooks County is located on a major human smuggling corridor approximately 80 miles north of the Texas-Mexico border. Migrants are dropped off on ranches in the area to circumvent the Falfurrias Border Patrol checkpoint on U.S. Highway 281.
The staggering migrant death count in 2022 led to a United Nations declaration calling the U.S./Mexico Border the deadliest land border crossing for migrants in the world. Historically, the most common causes of migrant deaths involve drownings in the Rio Grande, heat-related emergencies, and vehicle accidents.
SOUTHWEST BORDER DEATHS BY FISCAL YEAR:
- FY 2022 — 880
- FY 2021 — 568
- FY 2020 — 254
- FY 2019 — 300
- FY 2018 — 281
- FY 2017 — 298
The 880 deaths reported in FY22 shatter the record that was established just one year earlier when Border Patrol reports reveal the recovered bodies or remains of 568 migrants. FY21 began on October 1, 2020, and includes the first eight months of the Biden administration. The total for these two years (1,448) exceeds the total of the four prior fiscal years (1,133) covered by the Trump administration.
The spike in migrant deaths in FY21-22 coincides with the record-shattering years for migrant apprehension during the same time period. During these two years, agents apprehended more than 4.1 million migrants along the southwest border.
Migrant deaths come in a wide variety of circumstances. The largest cause of death comes from exposure to heat, Border Patrol statistics reveal. The second largest category is water-related death from migrants drowning while attempting to cross the border. This is followed by the deaths of migrants in vehicles operated by human smugglers.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.