Who will claim the bodies of unknown immigrants?

57f7PacificStandard.color 1 Who will claim the bodies of unknown immigrants?

At the bottom of a freshly opened grave, two young women use brushes and dustpans to sweep the last traces of powdery south Texas soil off the coffin. It’s a little before 8 a.m. on a cloudless May morning, and the punishing sun will soon push the temperature into the 90s. Up on ground level, the excavation’s super​visor, a sprightly forensic archaeologist named Lori Baker, snaps photos of the work. All around them, granite headstones display the names of the dead buried here in the city of Del Rio’s Westlawn Cemetery—Connor, Pennington, Ramirez. Baker has come here from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, to determine the identity of the others, the ones without headstones or whose resting places bear a single word: Unknown. Many of them, she believes, are illegal immigrants who drowned in the Rio Grande or died from heat exhaustion—and whose families have no idea what became of them. “It doesn’t matter if they disappeared in the 1990s,” Baker says. “People don’t stop searching.”Continue Reading…

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Who will claim the bodies of unknown immigrants?

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