More Than 700,000 Immigrants to US Detained, 386 Die in One Year

AFP, December 17, 2008

More than 700,000 foreigners were detained after entering the US illegally, and 386 died in attempts to do so during the 2008 fiscal year, US Border Patrol said here Wednesday.

Most—661,766—were Mexicans, many who had crossed their country’s 2,000-mile (3170-kilometer) land border with the southern United States, according to Border Patrol’s Office of International Affairs.

The rest—62,059—were citizens of other countries, a majority from Central America, including almost 20,000 from Honduras, more than 16,300 from Guatemala and just over 12,000 from El Salvador.

A total of 386 died, down from 398 the previous US fiscal year, which runs from October 1 to September 30.

Hispanic leaders have urged president-elect Barack Obama to issue a moratorium on immigration raids and deportations after the US Congress failed to pass the most recent version of sweeping immigration legislation in 2007.

The proposed legislation would have given legal status to the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants residing in the United States.

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