People use a ladder to scale the border fence at the US/Mexico border in Tecate, Mexico, Thursday, April 21, 2022. The men used the ropes to lower themselves down on the United States side. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy) more > The Border Patrol has been undercounting migrant deaths along the U.S.-Mexico boundary for years, according to a report by Congress’ chief watchdog agency.
The revelation is something immigrant rights activists have long asserted. The Government Accountability Office confirmed it, finding that in eastern Arizona, a particularly deadly part of the border, the government’s count was off by more than 50% from independent tallies.
Customs and Border Protection, which oversees the Border Patrol, keeps a tally of migrants its personnel find, but it struggles to account for cases where some other entity finds the remains, investigators said.
That means the government may not have a complete picture of the growing chaos at the border, where fatalities appear to be on the rise.
“CBP has not collected and recorded, or reported to Congress, complete data on migrant deaths or disclosed limitations with the data it has reported,” the GAO said.
Homeland Security Department officials said they are trying to make improvements. Activists on the ground said they will believe it when they see it.
“I applaud their efforts, at least in terms of the rhetoric, but it remains to be seen whether they’ll actually follow through on this,” said Brad Jones, a volunteer with Humane Borders. “In years past, they’ve been brought to bear on undercounting migrant deaths and indicated they’d do something on this, but they just never seem to act on it.”
He called GAO’s report “a pretty serious rebuke” to the Border Patrol.CBP has declined to release its current death tally for 2022, but it ended 2021 with 557 recorded fatalities along the southern border, breaking […]
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