Climate change kills migrants crossing the US border (study)

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Thousands of migrants are heading for the southern border of the United States on a journey deemed incredibly dangerous – and now a new study has found it is becoming increasingly deadly as climate change makes them more deadly. more difficult travel conditions.

The researchers published a new study in science This week it was found that climate change has made more and more regions of the world habitable, it also makes conditions for migrants more deadly. The results of the study revealed that undocumented migrants are disproportionately dying in harsh desert conditions that have been exacerbated by climate change.

The study involved modeling the physiological stress associated with undocumented migration across a commonly traveled section of the southern border of the United States, between Nogales, Mexico and Three Point, Arizona. The results revealed that the locations of migrant deaths are disproportionately clustered in regions with the greatest amount of evaporated water expected. loss. Even the minimum values ​​of the estimated water loss by evaporation were sufficient to cause severe dehydration and associated causes of death.

The model predicted that the physiological costs of migration would increase by up to 34% over the next 30 years.


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Ryan Long, associate professor of wildlife science at the University of Idaho and lead author of the study, explained in a Press release that his study indicated that the amount of potable water carried by a typical migrant is probably not sufficient to prevent severe dehydration. Researchers believe that this deficit should only increase as the climate warms.

“Access to sufficient quantities of clean water to withstand the high rates of water loss experienced during the journey is likely the difference between life and death for many migrants,” Long said.

Severe dehydration requires immediate medical treatment, according to the Mayo Clinic, but for migrants heading to the United States, this is not possible as they travel hundreds of kilometers through an isolated desert.

Dehydration can become especially dangerous for young children and the elderly, as it can cause diarrhea and vomiting in children, while older people naturally have a lower volume of water in their bodies.

There has been evidence of migrants suffering from dehydration, with 7-year-old girl from Guatemala die of dehydration and shock after crossing a remote stretch of the New Mexico desert with his father and a large group of migrants in 2018.

The researchers also pointed to a long-standing and controversial tactic known as the “Prevention through deterrence”. It is a policy used by the border patrol which tries to keep migrants away from urban crossing points and towards, which researchers described as, “the most punitive corridors of the desert.”

Jason De León, professor of anthropology and Chicago / o and Central American studies at the University of California at Los Angeles and co-author of the study, said: “Prevention through deterrence has armed the natural environment. against migrants and killed thousands of people. people in the process. This new research quantifies the effects of this policy on the human body and helps prove that the policy knowingly puts people at risk in the name of border security.

Controversial immigration tactics have long been a problem in the United States, with former President Trump issuing numerous immigration mitigation strategies, such as the “Stay in Mexico” policy and a zero tolerance policy which has left thousands of migrant families separated from their children.

The southern U.S. border has seen an unprecedented wave of migrants this year, with an estimated 1.2 million encounters with the southwestern land border recorded through September by the United States Customs and Border Protection.

The researchers also highlighted the results of their study and their connection to the migration trend in the United States, noting that over the past decade there have been more families, more unaccompanied minors and more migrants. crossing Mexico from Central America, the Caribbean and Africa.

“These data will hopefully raise awareness among other researchers that physiological models can be used to understand highly politicized and violent social processes,” De León said.


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