Nine years ago I was walking with my dogs in Brawley Wash, just outside the town I lived in, Arivaca, AZ. We were on the way back to my jeep when my dogs ran ahead and started barking at a bush. When I caught up with them I discovered that they were curious about an extremely emaciated person curled up underneath- half of his body was in the shade of the bush while the other half was exposed to the sun. There were no shoes on his feet and he was so weak that his movements seemed to be in slow motion. He slowly turned his head and whispered “Ayuda,” the Spanish word for help.
I was able to get him help. He was in an ambulance within half an hour and taken to a hospital in Tucson. When the Pima County Sheriff’s officer that helped me called later he informed me the boy was going to survive. My response was, “boy?” Turned out the emaciated, dehydrated, wrinkly old man that my dogs saved from dying was actually a 16 year old boy.
Dying from the elements such as 100 degree plus heat, unrelenting sun, freezing nights, exhaustion, exposure, and dehydration is a slow process. It probably took days for the 16 year old boy to be sucked so dry that he morphed into a dying, elderly man. For a thorough description of the process please visit this page maintained by the Tucson Samaritans or read The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea.
Yes, immigration reform needs to happen in this country. But, it must be humane, compassionate, and with the recognition that the U.S. – in some cases- is the cause and impetus for the reasons why so many people risk it all to walk so many miles to come to this country for a new life.
The wall is stationary, people are not. #NoMoreBorderWall