10/27/2015 Los Angeles Times
With a significant slowdown in the surge of migrants streaming across the Southwest border, it stands to reason that the number of deaths among those braving the crippling heat of Arizona’s desert frontier with Mexico would also decline. But it didn’t.
In fact, even more people died attempting the perilous crossing: 117 bodies have been recovered along migration routes in southern Arizona since Jan. 1, compared with 108 bodies during the same period last year.
The answer lies in the nationality of the person generally found dead on the U.S.-Mexican border: In 85% of cases, they are Mexican, according to Pima County Medical Examiner Greg Hess. Most of the migrants who crossed the U.S. border last year were from violence-ridden countries in Central America who often turned themselves in to U.S. border agents and filed asylum petitions that allow them to remain in the U.S. until their cases are adjudicated.
But Mexican migrants tend to have different circumstances. Most who cross the border illegally face immediate arrest and deportation — and as a result, they often choose to evade detection by making their way up the deadly hot byways of the Arizona desert.