SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The number of migrant deaths along the Tijuana-San Diego border this year is just one shy of what it was for all of 2022 as more migrants are choosing to take dangerous routes into the U.S., the Mexican National Institute of Migration said.
David Pérez Tejada, director of the institute, said 38 migrants have died already this year while attempting to cross the border unlawfully in the San Diego Sector.
He added that in all of last year, the figure was 39.
“They cross in the ocean, deserts and mountains. It’s very risky for families and individuals because they could drown, fall and suffer serious injuries, which happen in many cases,” he said.
A spokesperson with U.S. Customs and Border Protection says their figures show the number of migrant deaths so far this year is 35.
Migrant advocates north of the border say the number is way too low.
“These numbers probably don’t reflect the real numbers,” said Pedro Rios, director of the American Friends Service Committee. “I know many people who die but aren’t found when they die. This is not only here in San Diego County but also in other border states.”
Rios says part of the blame lies on the CBP One app, which is promoted as the best way for migrants to get an appointment to cross the border at a port of entry but has seen migrants grow tired and desperate when those appointments don’t materialize fast enough.
“President Biden was trying to promote it as a way for people to seek asylum in a safe way, but we know that’s not the case and, unfortunately, that creates greater desperation and frustration amongst migrants,” he said.
Rios stated this leads migrants to take risks.
“A lot of the anti-asylum measures push migrants trying to cross into the U.S. through very treacherous ways whether it’s mountains or deserts or climbing a 30-foot border wall where the risk of dying is very high,”
Rios believes the U.S., Mexico and other countries could easily make things safer for migrants.
“Both the U.S. and Mexican governments and all the other governments need to center their policies on immigration around human rights. Until we address those things, you’re going to continue to see a high number of people that are dying in their attempt to cross into the U.S. for a better life.”