Part 1: Border Images

Estimates of those who have died crossing desert regions of US.-Mexico borders in the past twenty years range from 6,029 to 8,600 souls

In January 2019, I traveled with fellow students of Phillips Theological Seminary to Tucson, Arizona to learn and observe the humanitarian issues at the United States-Mexico borders. We were guided by an organization called Borderlinks.

The most striking thing I learned is that from 6,029 to 8,600 people have died crossing the desert in the past twenty years. According to a report prepared in partnership with No Mas Muertes the “Border Patrol claims that at least 6,029 border crossers have died crossing into the United States since the 1990s. However, audits suggest that the agency underestimates the number of border deaths by as much as 43 percent, which yields a death count of over 8,600 people in the US borderlands” (Source: La Coalición de Derechos Humanos and No More Deaths).

Border walls that have been built in urban areas and miles beyond such as San Diego and Nogales have driven people further into the deserts. People are crossing in remote places where they’ve never crossed before. They are getting lost, chased by U.S. Border agents, scattered and separated from their companions. People starve, die of heat exhaustion, dehydration, and other dangers in the deserts.

As you can see from the photos below, one of the activities we participated in while in Tucson was to take food and water to places where people have been dying for years. The good people of No Mas Muertes (No More Deaths) want to see the deaths stop. Will more border walls stop the deaths? Will more open borders stop the deaths? The issues are more complex than simply about walls. So I went to Tucson, the border, the desert, and listened to dozens of people along with my classmates to learn more.

Images of the border to open our minds, not draw quick conclusions

Please don’t make rash conclusions even after you see these photos. This is only a post to scratch the surface with a few images and comments that can open your mind a little more, but this post and a few pictures does not even come close to expressing the complex issues, problems, and human suffering that exists along the borders.

—Greg Taylor

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