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New fiscal year's first immigrant death reported

October 02, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

NOMIRAGE — The remains of a man thought to be an undocumented immigrant were found near this west Imperial County desert community Monday.

The body, discovered by a U.S. Border Patrol agent, has been listed by the U.S. Border Patrol as the first immigrant death of fiscal 2002 in the Border Patrol's El Centro sector.

The Border Patrol fiscal year is from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.

Border Patrol officials said the person likely died while attempting to cross the desert this summer, although they said it is difficult to say specifically when he died.

The county Coroner's Office reported the remains were found in an area regularly traveled by illegal immigrants.

During the last fiscal year, 89 immigrants died while trying to cross the border in the Border Patrol's El Centro sector. Those deaths occurred in the desert, in local waterways and in traffic accidents.

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Border Patrol officials have said they are hopeful a new method of patrolling the border in the Imperial Valley will cut the number of deaths.

That new system involves reducing the coverage area of the El Centro station to include the stretch of border from just west of Calexico to the San Diego County line. The Calexico station will be responsible for covering the border from Calexico east to Grays Well.

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