Identifying the dead along our southern border


Start Date: Feb 25, 2021 - 03:00pm

Identifying the dead along our southern border: Immigration, Regulation, Forensic Anthropology, and Human Rights

Bruce E. Anderson, Heather J.H. Edgar, Tessa Lee, and Kate Spradley

Migrants from Latin America cross the U.S. border seeking a better life. To call this crossing harsh grossly understates the difficulties these people encounter. Some lose their lives in the effort. The actual number of border-related migrant deaths cannot be known, but the U.N. estimates over 800 in 2019. Investigating those deaths and identifying the unknown are monumental tasks.

Along the border region those who care for the dead, coroners, forensic pathologists, death investigators, and others, face a patchwork of laws that govern medico-legal death investigation. Because of the remoteness and harsh conditions along much of the border, a significant portion of the work identifying migrants falls to forensic anthropologists, specialists trained to analyze skeletal remains. This event is a moderated discussion by forensic anthropologists working on border deaths and border issues in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

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