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Arizona border deaths hit 10-year high after record heat

Brutal summer heatwave and new crackdown efforts lead to hundreds of migrant deaths.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this Aug. 22, 2019, file photo, U.S. Customs and Patrol agents sit along a section of the international border wall that runs through Organ Pipe National Monument in Lukeville, Ariz. A public-private project that maps the bodies of border crossers recovered from Arizona's inhospitable deserts, valleys and mountains said this week of Monday, Jan. 4, 2021 that it documented 227 such deaths in 2020, the highest in a decade following the hottest, driest summer in state history. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

PHOENIX — A project that maps where the bodies of border-crossers were recovered from Arizona's inhospitable deserts, valleys and mountains says it documented 227 deaths in 2020. 

That was the highest in a decade following the hottest, driest summer in state history. 

The previous annual high mapped by the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office and the nonprofit Humane Borders was 224 migrant deaths in 2010. 

Enforcement efforts in California and Texas over the years have pushed migrants into dangerous terrain in Arizona without easy access to food and water. 

Some advocates believe border wall construction also has played a role.