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Faces of death: Sheriffs showcase graphic evidence of the rising body count at the border




Sheriffs are collecting gruesome photos of the bodies of migrants near the US-Mexico border, seeking to shock the country into action on the chaotic southern border.

The National Sheriffs’ Association photobook puts images of real people on the mounting carnage. Sheriffs call the collection “Death in the Desert.” It comes with a bright red graphic content warning.

Some photos show human bones covered in tattered clothing with skin and organs torn off by animals or the elements. Others show bodies pulled from the Rio Grande, shedding their swollen skin after days submerged in water. A grisly shot shows a body shredded into several pieces after the migrant was hit by a train.

“We really need everyone to understand this is happening,” said Sheriff Urbino “Benny” Martinez of Brooks County, Texas.

As of last week, his county had recovered 80 bodies this year. He hoped the body count would stay below last year’s record of 119.

Sheriff Martinez said what he sees will shock northern communities whose leaders complain that migrants are being bused or flown into their towns.

SEE ALSO: Border agents halted armed incursion by illegal immigrants from Mexico

“We get them at this point here at worst. The area in the northeast corner of the United States, guess what, they’re cleared,” he said. “We pick them up with maggots on them. That’s what we see. The bodies being torn apart. There’s nothing good about that, period.

The extent of death is one of the most visible signs of border chaos.

The Border Patrol set a record in 2021 by counting 557 migrant deaths.

Fox News, citing internal government data, reported that the fiscal year 2022 figure blew that up by reaching 856 deaths from October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022.

Customs and Border Protection, which oversees border patrol, has not confirmed that number. The agency said it would release the tally once its Office of Professional Responsibility collects the statistics.

CBP acknowledged the rising death toll and blamed the smuggling organizations.

SEE ALSO: Border agents use pepper balls to disperse crowds of Venezuelan migrants

“Transnational criminal organizations continue to recklessly endanger the lives of smuggled individuals for their own financial gain, with no regard for human life,” the agency said in a statement. “Smuggling organizations are abandoning migrants in remote and dangerous areas, leading to an increase in the number of rescues but also tragically an increase in the number of deaths.”

The number of such rescues – another measure of the level of danger at the border – rose from 12,875 in 2021 to 22,461 in 2022.

In 2019, during the wave of migrants that plagued the Trump administration, Border Patrol recorded just 5,071 rescues.

The National Association of Sheriffs said the rise in deaths is the result of Biden administration policies.

“It is inhumane to knowingly encourage hope when death is entirely possible,” the organization said. “Our country needs immigrants, but we need them here legally and on the path to citizenship.”

The worst migrant incident in memory happened last year when 53 people died after being trapped in a tractor-trailer in San Antonio. The truck’s refrigeration unit was broken and outside temperatures reached 100 degrees. Among the dead migrants were three children.

Two men have been charged with smuggling in the incident, and two others have been charged with illegal immigrants in possession of firearms after authorities found them at one of the addresses they picked up during their investigation.

The Justice Department informed the court on Monday that it would not seek the death penalty against the two men charged with smuggling.

Heat and exposure are also big killers in Brooks County.

The county is home to the Falfurrias Checkpoint, part of the network of checkpoints that Border Patrol agents use as a sort of secondary border, inspecting vehicle traffic to try and keep drugs and illegal immigrants penned in closer to the international border.

The smugglers must decide whether to try to sneak through the checkpoint undetected or drop off the migrants before the checkpoint and route them around to be picked up on the north side. The trek can last from a few hours to a few days. In Brooks County, that means traversing some of the most rugged ranches.

Migrants who cannot follow are often abandoned by smugglers.

Sheriff Martinez said deaths are so common that his office has entered into a working relationship with consulates to help identify the bodies.

He said he hoped the number of deaths in his county would stay below last year’s record toll now that the weather is getting colder.

Exposure is also a major contributor to deaths in Arizona and California, where migrants pass through remote landscapes.

On the South Texas border, drownings claim victims.

Across the border, migrants are dying in car crashes as smugglers load people into cars and trucks and drive recklessly as they rush deeper into the country.

An illegal immigrant from Guatemala pleaded guilty this summer to destroying a Nissan Pathfinder with 15 other migrants inside, twice the seating capacity. Four migrants died at the scene.

The driver, David Gonzalez-Diaz, said he made $200 per person he transported from the West Texas border to Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Other deaths will likely not be recorded in CBP statistics.

On the northern border, Canadian authorities recovered the bodies of four Indian nationals who froze to death as they tried to sneak into Minnesota during a whiteout in January. The family was a few meters from crossing the border.

US border agents realized something was wrong after grabbing a group of people and realizing they were carrying a backpack with toddler clothes and supplies – but no toddlers were in the group.

They began searching on the American side and alerted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who located the mother, father, 11-year-old girl and 3-year-old boy.

A survey by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. tracked the movements of the Patel family and concluded that they had paid smugglers to transport them from a comfortable middle-class life in Gujarat, India, to Canada, where they intended to sneak into the United States. United.