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Under Increasing Pressure to Migrate, More Women are Dying at the US-Mexico Border

In Southern Arizona, on an over-100-degree day in June, humanitarian aid workers found a group of migrants standing in a thin slice of shade formed by the large steel slats of the border wall. Among them were a pregnant woman, an elderly woman, two women showing signs of heat exhaustion and young children. In total, about 30 people had crossed into the United States and were waiting for the Border Patrol to pick them up so they could make an asylum claim.

They were some of the lucky ones. Advocates say that more and more people are ending up stranded in the desert because of onerous Trump and Biden administration restrictions that make it difficult to ask for asylum at official ports of entry. Instead, people are trying to cross through remote desert areas.

Melanie Nezer, vice president of advocacy and external relations for the Women’s Refugee Commission, said women are driven to migrate for the same reason as men: lack of employment, persecution by local armed gangs and, increasingly, climate change, which is affecting farming yields and food security. Climate-intensified disasters have also led to high levels of displacement around the world and are linked to higher rates of domestic violence and sexual assault in their aftermath.

This article from The 19th News was also published in the Tucson Sentinel, Marfa Public Radio, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, ScheerPost, Utah News Dispatch, and Truthout.