Texas students work to identify bodies of migrants and find their families


Texas State University’s Operation Identification team members evaluate the days progress in exhuming “John Doe” graves at the Maverick County Cemetery in Eagle Pass on Jan. 10, 2023.

Dr. Kate Spradley empties a dust pan into a plastic bucket during an exhumation of several unidentified migrants at the Maverick County Cemetery in Eagle Pass on Jan. 10, 2023.

Texas counties spend thousands to identify migrants

“The earth swallowed him”

Stacks of temporary grave markers reading “John Doe” and including a migrant’s case number are stacked next to the office building at the Maverick County Cemetery in Eagle Pass on Jan. 10, 2023. The South Texas Human Rights Center and Texas State University’s Operation Identification teams are exhuming several rows of unidentified migrants buried under the signs in an attempt to match descriptions of personal items with Customs and Border Protection case numbers.



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