The border wall forces potential crossers away from safer urban areas to cross deeper into the desert and in remote, dangerous places. This spring a friend's friend, who volunteers for a humanitarian organization in Arizona assisting immigrants, sent this message. Dan is doing front line work, as you'll soon learn, and he gave blanket permission to reprint this:
Border Eclipse by Dan Mills
Right now I am trying to decide if I want to write this. I think I do, because you need to know. And you need to do something. We all do.
Yesterday afternoon three young volunteers and I were on a No More Deaths patrol in a remote desert canyon. We were dropping off water, food, blankets, shoes and socks along some remote migrant trails. Walking up the canyon, I saw some green shoes, and, thinking they looked pretty new, began to yell, as we always do, "Hola, hola! Tenemos agua, comida, somos de la iglesia, blah blah..." [B.E.'s note: "Hello, hello! We have water, food, we're from the church, blah blah..."] I only got to the second "hola" before I saw her teeth, and spun around, and told my friends: "Stop."
I had never found someone dead in the desert before. The feeling is horrendous. So ugly, frustrating, tragic. I just looked at my feet and said "Goddammit." I'm still mad. Joseline was only fourteen years old. She was from El Salvador, heading to the West Coast to reunite with family members there. I can't stop thinking of all the freshmen I taught at VVS - she could have been one of them.
Because obtaining a visa through official means is next to impossible, she, and thousands like her, can't cross the border at a port of entry. Instead, our spineless government builds walls to force them into the furthest, most inhospitable stretches of desert. As crossing without documents becomes more difficult, the price of the journey rises. Now smuggling people is as profitable as smuggling drugs, so cartels are more involved and violence is increasing. "Securing the border" is a stupid term that just means speeding up this vicious cycle. Each year, hundreds of people die trying to cross the southern borderlands, walking north for a better life. Still, it is very rare for humanitarian aid organizations like No More Deaths to find a deceased migrant in the desert. It only happens about once a year. I guess this year my friends and I are the unlucky ones.
I'm not writing this message asking for sympathy. I'm asking for action. Though the many calls and kind words I've already received are appreciated, I don't feel comforted. How can I take solace when what we ran across yesterday is a regular occurrence here in the U.S?
...How can we feel secure when our neighbors are being rounded up and scapegoated in our own communities, far from the border? How can anyone feel comforted when a kangaroo court called "Operation Streamline" is forcing poor and hungry people to beg a judge for forgiveness for their "crime" of trying to feed their families? or face jail time and criminal records?
U.S. border policy is designed to neglect, berate, scapegoat, humiliate, torture, and kill innocent people. Let's change it. Now, goddammit!
Your friend Dan
August 29: Day 3 of March for Peace and Unity against the Border Wall Many are marching and demonstrating against the Border Wall in the El Paso, TX area. What can I do today?
Today's Action Suggestion:
Sign the petition against the border wall found at the No Texas Border Wall website.