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Sapkota S, Kohl HW, Gilchrist J, McAuliffe J, Parks B, England B, Flood T, Sewell CM, Perrotta D, Escobedo M, Stern CE, Zane DF, Nolte KB. Am. J. Public Health 2006; 96(7): 1282-1287.


National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga 30341, USA.


(Copyright © 2006, American Public Health Association)








OBJECTIVES: We examined the major causes of and risk factors for death among migrants who died while making unauthorized border crossings into the United States from Mexico. METHODS: Decedents were included in the study if (1) their remains were found between January 1, 2002, and December 31, 2003, in any US county along the 650-mi (1040-km) section of the US-Mexican border from Yuma, Ariz, to El Paso, Tex; (2) their immigration status was unauthorized; and (3) they were believed to have died during transit from Mexico to the United States. Characteristics of the decedents and causes of and risk factors for their deaths were examined. RESULTS: Among the 409 decedents meeting our inclusion criteria, environmental heat exposure (n=250; 61.1%) was the leading cause of death, followed by vehicle crashes (n=33; 8.1%) and drownings (n=24; 5.9%). Male decedents (n= 298; 72.8%) outnumbered female decedents (n = 105; 25.6%) nearly 3 to 1. More than half of the decedents were known to be Mexican nationals (n=235; 57.5%) and were aged 20 to 39 years (n=213; 52.0%); the nationality of 148 (36.2%) decedents was undetermined. CONCLUSIONS: Deaths among migrants making unauthorized crossings of the US-Mexican border are due to causes that are largely preventable. Prevention strategies should target young Mexican men, and focus on preventing them from conceiving plans to cross the border, discouraging them from using dangerous routes as crossing points, and providing search-and-rescue teams to locate lost or injured migrant crossers.

Language: en


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