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Volunteer expecting increase in border deaths

PHOENIX -- A border volunteer said he is expecting a rise in border deaths, especially as the United States makes it more difficult for illegal immigrants to enter the country.

"The consistent policy of the U.S. government is to make it difficult to get here by setting out surveillance and walls. That changes the routes people take," said Migration Ministries Reverend Robin Hoover.

Hoover said smugglers and cartels are growing more desperate to get people into the U.S. at any cost and if that means losing many lives, so be it.

"They're pushing people into really rugged terrain and looking at the whole border we're seeing a spike in deaths from Brownsville, Texas to San Diego," he said.

The Border Patrol said the number of immigrants crossing into the United States and being apprehended in the Tucson Sector has dropped dramatically from 616,000 in 2000 to 120,000 last year, while drug seizures have risen.

Agent Brent Kagan said criminal organizations are becoming very desperate to push drugs and people into Arizona and to do that they will move into the more remote and dangerous sections along the border.

Earlier this week, the Cronkite News Service reported that 146 bodies were found along the border this year, compared with 125 last year.

About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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