A van packed with at least 30 undocumented immigrants, many from Central and South America, rolled over early Thursday on an Arizona road, killing three people and seriously injuring nearly two dozen. The deaths were the latest in a string of fatal accidents on Arizona’s highways, back roads and city streets involving migrant smuggling, reports the state’s Republic.
So far this fiscal year, which started Oct. 1, 17 undocumented immigrants have died in car wrecks in the busy Tucson sector of the U.S. Border Patrol, compared with five at this time last year. “They’re just using these old rickety vehicles and putting as many people in them as possible,” said a Border Patrol spokeswoman. The official migrant death toll kept by the U.S. Border Patrol reached 56 Thursday, putting the Tucson sector on a pace to break last year’s record of 139. The agency already has arrested more undocumented immigrants in the Tucson sector since Oct. 1 than in all of last fiscal year, with apprehensions topping 360,000. Arrests along the entire 1,950-mile Southwestern border are up more than 30 percent.