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Aug-26-2010 08:34printcomments

The Border of Death

The summer of 2010 has been a deadly one for migrants.

Relatives of migrants who died crossing the border hang white wooden crosses on the U.S. border wall
Relatives of migrants who died crossing the border hang white wooden crosses on the U.S. border wall, pictured here in Nogales, Mexico. (By Karl W. Hoffman/

(LAS CRUCES, NM) - Despite periodic campaigns to warn would-be border crossers of the dangers of jumping the US-Mexico line without papers, the people keep coming from the south. And instead of a better life in the Promised Land, many encounter horrible deaths.

US and international media reported this week that 170 people have been recovered from the scorching desert lands of Pima County, Arizona, this year.

The bodies have been so numerous that forensic authorities have resorted to using refrigerated trucks to store the human remains.

Eric Peters, deputy chief medical examiner for Pima County, said two-thirds of the bodies remain unidentified.

“We’re kind of looking at a record-breaking year this year,” Peters said, in reference to the volume of corpses recovered. In 2007, a record 218 bodies were located in Pima County.

Temperatures in southern Arizona have soared well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit this summer.

The summer of 2010 has been a deadly one for migrants in other regions of the border as well.

Desperate economic conditions are driving record numbers of Central
Americans to cross Mexico hoping to get to the U.S. Many ride “The Beast”
- the train, and risk mutilation and amputation. Some make it, but many others
are caught and deported, or return home maimed … or dead. Central American
migrants ride the train headed northwest Sept. 6, 2006 from Gregório Méndez,
Tabasco, Mexico. Courtesy: The NPPA

On Monday, August 23, firefighters from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, recovered the body of a 27-year-old Honduran national from the Rio Grande near the border city.

Edwin Omar Sanchez Lagos was the third victim to be recovered in similar circumstances in a four-day period. The Mexican authorities estimated that Sanchez drowned about one week before his decomposing body was fetched from the river.

Reports indicated that Central and South American migrants were among the 72 victims found executed this week at a ranch situated in the Tamaulipas municipality of San Fernando.

The bodies of 58 men and 14 women were discovered after a clash between gunmen and Mexican marines left three presumed delinquents and one marine dead.

A survivor of the earlier killings, identified only as an Ecuadoran national named Luis Freddy, reportedly told Mexican officials he was part of a group of migrants that was moved from ranch to ranch before finally being offered work as hired killers for a drug cartel.

The migrants were ordered killed after they refused the offer, Luis Freddy said. The preliminary accounts of the San Fernando Massacre suggested that citizens of Brazil, Ecuador and other nations could be among the scores of victims.

As in Arizona, government officials were forced to use refrigerated mobile units to store the human remains.

  • El Universal, August 25, 2010.
  • Proceso/Apro, August 25, 2010.
  •, August 25, 2010. La Jornada, August 24, 2010. Article by Carlos Figueroa.
  • Los Angeles Times, August 24, 2010. Article by Daniel Siegal.
  • Tribuna de San Luis/AFP, August 23, 2010.

Frontera NorteSur (FNS): on-line, U.S.-Mexico border news Center for Latin American and Border Studies
New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New Mexico

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jermey April 21, 2014 11:26 am (Pacific time)


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