Humanitarian groups take migrant death concerns to Border Patrol

Posted: Updated:

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Humanitarian groups have significant concerns over the number of migrant deaths in the southern Arizona desert this summer.

Monday the group took up those concerns with the U.S. Border Patrol.

Members of the Southern Border Communities Coalition gathered Monday afternoon at the U.S. Border Patrol at the Tucson sector headquarters.

"We raised the issues of migrant safety, migrant safety is a very large issue we raised the issue of some of the policies that we think put migrants at risk," said Rev. Robin Hoover from the Southern Border Communities.

Rev. Hoover took part in the meeting and feels that there's been a breakdown in communication.

"I'm here to report to you there's been a major disconnect in the communication between the humanitarian groups and the Tucson sector of the Border Patrol," said Hoover.

Hoover contends factors including a bolstered border fence and an increased number of agents have resulted in more deaths among illegal immigrants.

"We are putting migrants at greater risk.  They're walking farther distances away from the roads and the washes that were familiar and customary in the past exposed to the elements for a longer period of time.  It results in more deaths," said Hoover.

The group believes the agency has more options open that will prevent the deaths, but without the communication, many more border crossers will suffer.

"We could work cooperatively to put out more water stations on public properties.  There are things that could be done but we're not doing those and those conversations have been curtailed," said Hoover.

Border Patrol officials Monday confirmed a meeting with Southern Border Communities Coalition but refused to comment on what was said.