Arizona has set new records this year for deaths among undocumented immigrants along the state’s 389-mile border with Mexico, reports USA Today. With about six weeks remaining in the Border Patrol’s fiscal year – and more Border Patrol agents patrolling than ever – 201 people have succumbed to the elements in Arizona. In Pima County, so many corpses are waiting to be identified, autopsied and returned to Mexico that the coroner is storing 60 of them in a refrigerator truck.
Arizona has emerged as ground zero in the nation’s debate over illegal immigration. Minutemen Project volunteers launched patrols this spring to stop border crossers, while humanitarian groups set up water stations and gave medical help to immigrants. One group, Humane Borders, posts maps on the Mexican side showing where deaths have occurred and warning in Spanish, “Don’t go. It’s not worth the suffering.” But the incursion is relentless. Since Oct. 1, Border Patrol agents have caught more than 500,000 “undocumented aliens” along a sector that includes all of Arizona and a 16-mile stretch of California. No one knows how many got through.