A CBS report of record-setting migrant deaths along the U.S.-Mexico Border may be grossly understated, a source with U.S. Customs and Border Protection told Breitbart Texas. The report is based on the remains of 853 migrants recovered by Border Patrol agents.
At least 853 migrants died while crossing or shortly after crossing the Mexican border into the United States during the past 12 months, CBS reported. The report is based on internal Border Patrol data obtained by the news outlet.
Last year was quite likely the deadliest year ever for migrants at the southern border (with the caveat that the actual death toll is unknowable because some bodies are never found and many disappearances never reported). https://t.co/kLhKK27W6a
— Aaron Reichlin-Melnick (@ReichlinMelnick) October 29, 2022
The 853 known deaths represent a 56 percent increase over the 546 known recoveries in FY21. These 1,399 deaths during the Biden Administration already exceed the Trump era total of 1,126.
However, a source working under the umbrella of CBP told Breitbart Texas these numbers are grossly understated and especially do not reflect recoveries on both side of the border.
“They also do not include known migrant deaths where the remains are not recovered by Border Patrol agents,” the source told Breitbart Texas on Sunday.
These deaths include dozens of cases on private property where local law enforcement make first contact, he explained. They also do not include many of the migrants who died in vehicle crashes or during transit due to exposure to extreme heat.
“If Border Patrol was not involved in the recovery, the decedent is not included in Border Patrol reports,” the source explained.
One example is the deaths of 53 migrants in a tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas, in June. Human smugglers left the migrants locked in the rear of the trailer with no fresh air or means of escape.
Police pursuits of human smugglers can also lead to deaths not included in Border Patrol reports. In September, several migrants died in crashes where smugglers were fleeing law enforcement or were simply driving recklessly in overloaded vehicles.
“The reports also do not include any migrants’ deaths where the bodies or remains are recovered by Mexican authorities,” the source added.
As an example, Breitbart Texas reported the deaths of 13 from an illegal border crossing attempt near Eagle Pass. The report includes at least three recoveries by Mexican authorities.
In Brooks County, Texas, Sheriff Benny Martinez’s deputies are also facing a record number of migrant deaths — some are included in Border Patrol numbers while others are not.
“The ruthless human smugglers do not care about the lives they put in danger every single day in our county,” Sheriff Martinez told Breitbart. “Smugglers frequently abandon migrants in the arid ranchlands and leave them to die. They also put their lives at risk along our highways.”
Earlier this month, two migrants died and 12 others were injured as a human smuggler lost control of an overloaded pickup truck, Breitbart reported. In July, another migrant died after being struck by a passing vehicle as he attempted to flee from Texas DPS troopers.
On June 29, at least two migrants died following a police pursuit near La Joya, Texas. The pursuit ended when the driver lost control of the vehicle causing it to roll and eject some of the passengers. Fewer than 24 hours later, a police pursuit near Encinal, Texas, came to an end when the driver crashed into the rear of an 18-wheeler. The crash led to the deaths of four migrants at the scene. Two other occupants of the vehicle, including the driver, had to be taken to hospitals for critical injuries.
“Smuggling organizations are abandoning migrants in remote and dangerous areas, leading to a rise in the number of rescues but also tragically a rise in the number of deaths,” CBP spokesman Cecilia Barreda told CBS news. “The terrain along the border is extreme, the summer heat is severe, and the miles of desert migrants must hike after crossing the border in many areas are unforgiving.”
The extreme conditions along the border are nothing new, however. What is new is the back-to-back record-setting years of migrant crossings and apprehensions by Border Patrol agents.
Border Patrol agents along the nine southwest border sector apprehended a record-shattering 2.2 million migrants in the just-ended Fiscal Year 22, Breitbart reported. This is up 33 percent from the previous year set by the Biden Administration just one year earlier.
Theresa Cardinal Brown, who worked at the Department of Homeland Security under Presidents Bush and Obama, told CBS the number of migrant deaths is high.
“But it’s also amongst a record year for everything else,” she stated. “Is it more dangerous? Yes. But there’s also a lot more people trying.”
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Face
Randy Clark is a 32-year veteran of the United States Border Patrol. Prior to his retirement, he served as the Division Chief for Law Enforcement Operations, directing operations for nine Border Patrol Stations within the Del Rio, Texas, Sector. Follow him on Twitter @RandyClarkBBTX.