A United Nations agency concluded Tuesday that the U.S.-Mexico border is the deadliest migrant land route.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) revealed Tuesday that it documented 686 deaths and disappearances of migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border last year — representing nearly half of all migrant deaths and disappearances throughout the Americas in 2022. In total, there were 1,457 migrant deaths and disappearances in the Americas last year, making 2022 the deadliest year on record since it began data collection in 2014.
“These alarming figures are a stark reminder of the need for decisive action by States,” said Michele Klein Solomon, IOM Regional Director for Regional Director for Central and North America and the Caribbean. “Enhancing data collection is crucial. Ultimately, what is needed is for countries to act on the data to ensure safe, regular migration routes are accessible.”
The organization noted that while deaths and disappearances along the US-Mexico border dipped down slightly in 2022, the total number is likely underreported due to the lack of official data.
Nearly half of the deaths associated with the US-Mexico border were connected to crossing the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts. The report also saw an increase in deaths along migration routes in the Caribbean, like those coming from the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba. There were 350 documented deaths in the Caribbean last year, up from 245 deaths in the year prior.
The report also said there were 141 documented migrant deaths in what it described as the “inhospitable jungle border” between Panama and Columbia, but said that the dangerous area and prevalence of criminal gangs may mean that the total is inaccurate.
“The fact that we know so little about migrants who disappear in the Americas is a grim reality,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America. “The impacts on the families left behind to search endlessly for a lost loved one are profound.”