A United Nations agency found that the U.S.-Mexico border was the deadliest land migrant route in the world.
The International Organization for Migration said Tuesday that it had documented 686 deaths and disappearances of migrants traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border.
“The alarming figures are a stark reminder of the need for decisive action to create regular legal migration pathways,” said Paul Dillon, a spokesperson for the IOM, to reporters in Geneva, Switzerland.
He claimed that the figure represents “the lowest estimates available” given limitations on reporting all deaths.
Dillon also said that the deaths related to migrants traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border were nearly half of the 1,457 deaths of migrants documented in the Americas.
“One of the most concerning trends that IOM has seen in the Americas was the increase in deaths on migration routes in the Caribbean,” he continued.
The IOM recorded 141 migrant deaths in what is called the Darien Gap, a jungle region between Panama and Colombia, but that figure is also likely incomplete.
“The remote and dangerous nature of this area and the presence of criminal gangs along the route means that this figure likely does not represent the actual number of lives lost,” Dillon said.
The most dangerous migrant route overall was calculated to be the Mediterranean, where more than 2,400 deaths were documented over the same time period.
The migrant crisis in the U.S. has spread to cities that had once declared themselves “sanctuary cities” after Republican governors began sending migrants to governments claiming to be friendly to illegal immigration. New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, has since changed his tune and warned that the migrant crisis might utterly destroy his city.