Borderlands: Journeys to the Periphery

by Rosemarie Milazzo

Working this summer in Arizona with CPT partner No More Deaths, I met more deported migrants than last year who say they simply give up. They can endure no more dangerous journeys in the desert, no more frightened lives in our land of liberty.

One young woman sobbed uncontrollably as she told us that she had lost her husband in the desert. His feet were torn by thorns and blisters and were bleeding. He could not keep up and she heard him call out “Don’t leave me.” The coyote would not allow her to go back as it was too dangerous to delay. He assured her that the others were helping him along. When she broke loose and ran back, he was not with the group. She turned herself in to the Border Patrol and returned to search for him. She could not find him and returned to Mexico without him. She told us that in her dreams, she hears him call, “Don’t leave me....”

Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) has become more diligent in their search—appearing in schools, noon day Mass at the Catholic Church, checking passengers in cars and appearing in work places.

I wondered about our “civilized world” as I walked through a border crossing point, watching the U.S. agent pull aside one man. He led him into a nearby room where I watched another gloved agent move towards him, past a young man shackled to a chair.

How many more lives are we placing on the periphery?