Record Number of Border Deaths During Biden’s First 2 Years

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DEL RIO, Texas—As the number of illegal immigrants flooding across the southern border continues to increase, so does the number of illegal immigrants who die while crossing into the United States, or soon after.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recorded a total of 880 illegal immigrant deaths in fiscal 2022, which ended on Sept. 30, 2022. It’s the highest number of deaths since data became available in 1998. The second-highest number on record was fiscal year 2021, with 566 deaths.

The Epoch Times submitted a Freedom of Information request in October 2022 to obtain the data for the past two fiscal years after the Biden administration broke a long-standing policy and stopped publicly releasing the numbers. CBP responded to the Freedom of Information request on Jan. 18.

Previous, publicly available CBP data show 247 illegal immigrants died near the southern border during fiscal 2020, the lowest on record, while 300 died in fiscal 2019.

The Rio Grande Valley in Texas and the Tucson Sector in Arizona have traditionally been the most deadly border sectors, as the river and the summer heat claim the most lives, and smugglers leave injured and sick migrants to die.

But, Texas’s Del Rio sector, which includes Eagle Pass, bore the brunt of the deaths last year with 255 recorded. Most of the deaths in this area were due to drowning in the deceptively swift Rio Grande. But the total also includes 53 deaths of illegal aliens being smuggled in a locked tractor-trailer unit near San Antonio last June.

Deaths in the Del Rio sector over the past two fiscal years were higher than the previous 15 years combined. The sector also became the epicenter of mass illegal crossings.

The CBP data include a footnote indicating that the “data may be subject to change based on new discoveries of remains and possible dates of death as determined by a medical examiner.”

Not all migrant deaths are counted in the CBP data, as Border Patrol agents aren’t always involved in the discovery. Sheriff’s offices have their own tally of bodies discovered by ranchers, hunters, or others.

By Charlotte Cuthbertson

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