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Report: Mapping Migrant Deaths in Southern Arizona:The Humane Border GIS

Mapping Migrant Deaths in Southern Arizona: The Humane Border GIS


“Thousands of immigrants die annually crossing the desert into the United States.  Humane Borders is a Tuscon, Arizona non-profit agency that provides migrants with strategically placed drinking water stations.  We also work for immigration reform.  Through cooperation with the U.S. Border Patrol and local medical examiners, we produce maps showing the locations where migrants died.  After ESRI donated ArcView 9.1, we launched an ambitious GIS program.  Using personal geodatabases, we first created better migrant death maps.  We then built Spanish-language warning posters that deter entry into the United States and warn migrants away from the deadliest part of the desert.  Recently we developed viewshed models of cellular phone service illustrating how better coverage would save lives by allowing migrants to call for government rescue.  This paper demonstrates how GIS furthers out efforts to – in the words of Humane Borders’ President Rev. Robin Hoover – “take death out of the immigration equation.”