Lawmakers accept money to fund forensic identification of migrant remains


SAN DIEGO (Border Report) – On New Years Day, President Donald Trump signed a humanitarian bill that will provide funds to help identify the remains of migrants who died trying to enter the United States.

It is believed that every year hundreds of people fall into distress in remote areas of the border region and die from dehydration or exposure.

Often when remains are found it is difficult to identify them and local agencies do not have the resources or the money for the forensic identification process.

The bill increases funding to process unidentified human remains and help resolve missing persons cases so families can find closure, according to Vicki Guabeca of the Southern Border Communities Coalition.

“The Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains Act is an important first step in extending public safety and defending human rights in our region, and we thank all the lawmakers who worked hard to pass it. Guabeca said. “Missing migrants are not just statistics, they are real people who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

Vicki Guabeca of the Southern Border Communities Coalition. (Salvador Rivera / Report on the border)

The bill originated in the Senate (S. 2174) and was introduced by Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas; Senator Kamala Harris, D-California; Senator Thom Tillis, R-North Carolina; and Senator Tom Udall, D-New Mexico.

It was unanimously adopted in the Senate in mid-November 2020.

The Associated House Bill (HR 8772) was introduced by Representatives of the United States, Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, and Representative Will Hurd, R-Texas.

More than 100 forensic pathologists, subject matter experts, border region humanitarian aid groups, human rights, immigrant rights and faith groups have signed a letter expressing their support for the bill.

Part of the funding also authorizes funding for the installation of 170 new self-powered 9-1-1 cell relay rescue beacons in areas far from the border so people can call for emergency help.

“Many victims often carried cell phones but could not get a signal to call for help, these beacons will help save lives,” Guabeca said.

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