Death toll of undocumented immigrants rises on southwest border

Phoenix, Mar 19 (EFE).- The number of immigrant deaths on the southwest U.S. border with Mexico increased 27 percent between 2011 and 2012, the National Foundation for American Policy said Tuesday.

According to a NFAP study based on statistics from the Border Patrol, 477 immigrant deaths were reported in 2012, compared with 375 in 2011.

Stuart Anderson, executive director of NFAP, said in a press release that these figures are particularly alarming considering the drop in the number of immigrant arrests in recent years.

An undocumented immigrant trying to cross the border illegally these days has eight times more chance of dying in the attempt than was the case 10 years ago, the analysis said.

"If Congress adopted reforms to allow the legal entry of foreign-born workers in sufficient numbers, the tragedy of immigrant deaths at the border would largely disappear and illegal entry to the United States would be reduced," Anderson said.

The author of the study said that that the increase in border security has contributed to this problem, pushing the undocumented into more remote and dangerous areas.

An estimated 5,500 undocumented immigrants have died attempting to enter the United States since 1998.

"Since the failure of Congress to pass immigration reform legislation in 2007, more than 2,000 people have died near the southwest border," Anderson said. "If another 5 years goes by without Congress approving new legal temporary visas for workers, it is predictable that an additional 2,000 people will die simply because they wanted to work in America."