The Investigative Fund took home a pair of Emmy Awards last week for two projects documenting the treacherous journey made by migrants to the United States.
In “Muriendo Por Cruzar,” which won the Outstanding Investigative Journalism in Spanish category, reporting fellow John Carlos Frey captures the desperation experienced by dying migrants and their companions through the story of two brothers from El Salvador. Over the past five years the remains of more than 400 migrants have been recovered in rural Brooks County, Texas, yet no news organization had deeply investigated why. Frey reveals that Border Patrol's failure to respond to migrant distress calls was a key factor in the growing death count. The investigation led to a dramatically expanded search-and-rescue team in Texas, faster 911 response times, and a 30 percent drop in migrant deaths in the area. The broadcast was produced in partnership with Telemundo, the Weather Channel, and Efran Films.
Reporting fellow Melissa del Bosque's moving multimedia piece, featuring cutting-edge interactive graphics, won the New Approaches category. Del Bosque's four-part series, called “Beyond The Border” and published in partnership with the Texas Observer and the Guardian, also documents heartbreaking migrant journeys that so often end in tragedy. She examines how both local residents and the families who have lost loved ones deal with the emotional trauma year after year. Throughout her series we meet a family whose daughter disappeared in Brooks County, as well as conservative landowners who fear smugglers crossing their land but feel compassion for the immigrants in dire need of help. She profiles the county's overwhelmed sheriff's department and a former Guatemalan consul charged with repatriating the dead bodies and informing families that their loved ones have perished.
The wins mark the second and third Emmys in the past two years for The Investigative Fund's coverage of the US-Mexico border.