Migration, Death, and Disappearance: Education and Engagement in Tucson, Arizona

Bruce Anderson & Robin Reineke (Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner, Tucson, AZ, USA. University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA)
Publication Year
The Americas
Tucson, Arizona ; United States ; The Americas
Thematic Area
Families / The Search Process
DNA Analysis / Education / Identification / Migration
Open access

A tragedy has unfolded over the past two decades along the U.S.-Mexico border, where the remains of at least 9000 human beings have been discovered in the desert borderlands since 2000. While migration itself is not a crisis, the loss of life most certainly is. In addition to those who mourn the dead are those who experience the painful ambiguity of loved ones’ disappearance. The scale of death and disappearance is vast, both spatially and temporally—the geography is not limited to the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, but also includes the south-to-north migration corridor from Central America to the U.S., where losses have occurred gradually and continually since the early 2000s. Within communities where migration is prevalent, everyone knows of someone who has disappeared en route. Sadly, this loss of life will likely continue until Latin American peoples are able to immigrate to the U.S. safely and legally. In the meantime, it is important for students to learn about this issue, understand its root causes, and work on solutions.