Border patrol tallies record-high 557 migrant deaths at southern border in 2021 fiscal year

During the 2021 fiscal year, which ran from October 1, 2020 to September 31, 2021, the U.S. saw a record high number of migrant deaths.

The 2021 fiscal year saw 557 migrant deaths, 310 more than 2020’s 247 migrant deaths. The number of rescues made by Customs and Border Protection also more than doubled, showing that the risks facing migrants have grown. It is unclear how much the Covid-19 virus played into the increased number of deaths. 

Customs and Border Protection recently released the 2021 fiscal year’s final number of deaths counted among migrants at the border. The number reached higher than any other year during the 21st century. The agency cited heat exhaustion as being the leading cause of death, as the region is a very warm area, and getting lost in the terrain is not difficult and happens frequently.

Additionally, the border has seen a massive uptick in migrants trying to get to the U.S. CBP works to treat those facing illness and injury while waiting to be processed at the border. Reports also show that criminals have increasingly “abandoned and abused” migrants trying to get to the U.S.

A CNN journalist visited the border in June, when 2021 was already shaping up to be a year higher than any other since before 1998, when the agency began tracking the data. At the time the number of deaths at that point were triple the number of those from the same time in 2020. The number reported by CBP each year may not be entirely accurate, as deaths found by other agencies do not factor in. 

In addition to the record number of migrant deaths at the border, is an increase of arrests made at the border by CBP. During the 2021 fiscal year, there were 1.66 million arrests made for unlawful crossings.




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