TIJUANA, BAJA CALIFORNIA.- Rose Lee said her nephew left his native Peru and journeyed to the U.S.-Mexico border in search of his “American dream.” But she said she did not think the quest would cost him his life.
Alan Paredes Salazar, 37, drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande in early September alongside nearly a dozen other migrants whose bodies were found in the river by U.S. Border Patrol agents, his family said. The Medical Examiner’s Office in Webb County, Texas confirmed it processed Paredes Salazar’s body.
“My nephew’s death has left us devastated. It’s a very tragic death, to travel so far and die in an unknown place,” said Lee, who lives in southern California.
Paredes Salazar’s death was not an anomaly. At least 853 migrants died trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border unlawfully in the past 12 months, making the fiscal year 2022 the deadliest year for migrants recorded by the U.S. government, according to internal Border Patrol data obtained by CBS News.
The figure, which far exceeded the previous record of 546 migrant deaths recorded by Border Patrol in the fiscal year 2021, is likely an undercount due to data collection limits, migration policy analysts said. An April report by a federal watchdog found that Border Patrol did not collect and record “complete data on migrant deaths.”