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Deadly Journey
Photograph by George Steinmetz

In the bone-dry wilds of the Sonoran Desert, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) helicopter spotlights the body of a woman who risked and lost her life at age 23 trying to enter the U.S. illegally. Some 1,000 people try to cross the Sonoran each day, and an increasing number are perishing in the attempt. Advocates for illegal aliens attribute the rising toll to tightened security, which forces migrants deep into the hostile deserts. Although the primary mission of the Tucson Air Branch of ICE remains blocking the flow of contraband like drugs into the country, agents can't afford to ignore any border crossers they encounter. "We don't let it go to chance anymore that they're just illegal aliens," says agent Dale Foerschler, above. "They could be terrorists." [Read Steimetz's description of this tragedy and more about death on the border in our online extra.]

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Nikon 8008
Film Type: Fujichrome Provia 100
Lens: 24mm
Speed and F-Stop: 1/8 @ /f4
Weather Conditions: Clear and hot
Time of Day: 9 p.m.
Lighting Techniques: Tripod. The dominant light is coming from the Black Hawk helicopter.  A flashlight was used to illuminate the body.

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