(NEW YORK) — The number of immigrants who died while attempting to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border saw a large increase in 2012, even though there seem to be far fewer people attempting the crossing.
According to a report released by the National Foundation for American Policy, immigrant deaths at the border rose by 27 percent in 2012. Despite the fact that the border patrol has nearly twice as many agents as it did 15 years ago, the number of deaths in crossing has more than doubled.
The 477 immigrants who died trying to cross the border in 2012 is the second highest annual total, behind only 2005.
The border patrol captured over 350,000 undocumented immigrants in 2012, as compared to over 1.5 million in 1999. With a dramatic decrease in the number of immigrants attempting the journey, it is staggering that such a large number of them are dying.
The NFAP says that these numbers suggest that the border is getting more dangerous for immigrants. Testimonies from organizations that work along the border seem to confirm this.
Geoff Boyce, a spokesman for an Arizona nonprofit called No More Deaths, told USA Today that immigrants are now crossing the border in more remote areas of the desert comprised of 900 square miles with just two paved roads.
He said the crossing takes three to four days, and is made in temperatures as high as 110 degrees, in the summer, and below freezing in winter time.
“Even the healthiest person is going to have a hard time surviving in those kinds of conditions,” Boyce told USA Today.
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