Saturday, February 25, 2006

Marc Cooper: "Dead in Their Tracks"

LA Weekly's Marc Cooper has a riveting story on the increasing death toll on the border, including a portrait of Samaritans who bring ill and dying Border-Crossers food and water...

With ever more Border Patrol agents and high-tech surveillance fortifying the international divide, Mexican migrants are walking longer and more perilous routes to get into the United States. Last year, a record 473 of them died trying to cross — more than half here in Arizona. The year before marked the previous record. And 2006 threatens to set yet another record.

This is why almost every weekend of the year, and every day during the triple-digit heat of the Sonoran Desert summer, Johnston and 50 or so others who are part of the humanitarian groups No More Deaths and Samaritan Patrol (also called Samaritans) comb the cactus and mesquite of southern Arizona looking for migrants in distress. They offer water, snacks and — if necessary — evacuation for those with medical emergencies. Last year, among the 3,500 migrants the Samaritans encountered, they took 68 of them to a doctor, or back to their base at Tucson’s Southside Presbyterian Church, where they were treated by medical volunteers.

Go read the rest.