Since the beginning of 2005, more than 300 people have died in the southern Arizona desert as they tried to enter the country illegally.
As painful as those deaths are to the families of the deceased, there is something even worse: not knowing. Many of the bodies recovered are little more than scattered bones, making it difficult to identify the dead.
To help with identification, the University of Arizona and the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner are cooperating.
Their project, funded by an anonymous source, will include building an electronic database of missing persons reports to match with medical examiners’ records on unidentified bodies.
Missing persons reports received by the consulates of Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador also will be added.
It’s a needed humanitarian piece of the illegal immigration problem.