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Illegal Mexican immigrants to get US maps

A Mexican government agency is to issue some 70,000 maps marking main roads and water tanks for people wanting to cross illegally into the US.

The National Human Rights Commission says the maps are aimed at cutting the death toll among migrants.

US advocates of tougher border controls criticised the move, saying it would encourage illegal immigration. But the plan is backed by Humane Borders, a US-based organisation which operates about 70 emergency water stations near the 3,200-km border.

Officials from Mexico's Human Rights Commission (HRC) deny they are trying to encourage greater migration, saying they want to warn people of the risks they face and where to get water - so they don't die.

Each year thousands of Mexicans breach the frontier and attempt to cross the parched Sonoran Desert. An estimated 500 died last year while making the journey.