The Migrant Trail Walk

32 images Created 11 Jun 2017

As migrants crossing into the U.S. from Mexico continue to use more remote regions of the Sonoran Desert to avoid the building Border Patrol presence, many continue to lose their lives in the process. The mass casualties seen each year in Arizona, around 170 in 2016 alone, have driven a diverse group to stand up in response. Organizers, activists, students and others from Tucson and across North America meet once a year on Memorial Day to remember these migrant lives lost and to walk for life.

In its 14th year, The Migrant Trail solidarity walk gathered 50 participants plus a core of organizers to travel on foot from Sasabe, Sonora, Mexico to Tucson, Arizona; 75 miles in seven days. While this walk isn’t meant to try and replicate the migrant experience it does give a glimpse of the environment migrants must endure in the often unforgiving Sonoran Desert filled with thorny trees and a relentless sun. While walking along trails of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge or nearby roads the first three or four days, The Migrant Trail participants see few signs of life. That is, other than a constant flow of Border Patrol vehicles speeding by and items migrants have left behind including the oft-used black water jugs, camouflage shoe covers and backpacks. And in this relative isolation, reflection and conversation are essential. When not getting to know each other and how everyone is connected to immigration issues, the group intermittently walked in silence. The only time the silence was broken was to recognize the names of migrants who lost their lives in the desert with which the group responded in unison “presente!” As one of the Migrant Trail organizers Kat Rodriguez said during a meeting before the walk started, “we are not talking about the mass human casualty.” And that’s precisely why The Migrant Trail continues.
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