In the late 1990s, the death toll for border-crossing migrants shot up dramatically. This statistic has remained consistent, held firm through a Border Patrol policy known as “Prevention Through Deterrence.”

Jason De León explores the tragic, gruesome consequences of this policy in harrowing detail in his book The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant TrailIn The Border Trilogy podcast series, WNYC’s Radiolab follows De León’s research, continuing the interrogation of Prevention Through Deterrence, its origins, and its human cost.

Listen to the podcast below, or on Radiolab’s website here.

Border Trilogy Part 1: Hole in the Fence

Border Trilogy Part 2: Hold the Line

Jason De León is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan and Director of the Undocumented Migration Project, a long-term anthropological study of clandestine border crossings between Mexico and the United States. His academic work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including National Public Radio, the New York Times Magazine, Al Jazeera magazine, The Huffington Post, and Vice magazine. In 2013, De León was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer.

His book The Land of Open Graves is the recipient of the 2016 Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology.