Well, in the desert, just outside the city of Tucson, there have been thousands of people dying of fatigue and dehydration, thanks to our ill conceived immigration laws.
We challenge all Vincentians in every part of the United States to demand that their Senators and Congress representatives finally address immigration reform, to put an end to deaths in the desert, abuses, violence, discrimination, exploitation - as US citizens, we have a very heavy responsibility.
Because of the increased weight of Latino voters in the recent elections, fixing immigration might have a chance of being considered soon. Let’s not miss it!
In the meantime, in Tucson and elsewhere in Arizona we assist migrants at various stages of their plight, we educate the public on immigration and advocate for immigration reform. Many volunteer organizations - Humane Borders, No More Deaths, the Tucson Samaritans, among others - try to bring some relief to border crossers, by providing water, food, medical supplies in the desert under very difficult circumstances. Sometimes they encounter migrants, more often supplies are left in points along the trail. That is all that can be done - we absolutely cannot transport migrants, even in case of desperate medical emergencies, because under current Federal law transporting undocumented migrants has been criminalized… In 2005, two volunteers that brought a severely wounded migrant to an emergency room were prosecuted. Then, a sign stating “Humanitarian Acts are never a crime!” appeared all over the city of Tucson.
In Nogales, Sonora just across the border, the Kino Border Initiative (KBI), a Jesuit ministry, assists those that are deported every day, with no money or possessions, often after months spent in jail and isolation. See related article by Lucy Howell.
(By Giulio Grecchi – Tucson, AZ – Voice of the Poor Western Region Representative)