by Tony Magliano
Recently I was given a unique opportunity to taste some of the bitter hardships endured by fellow human beings fleeing drug-gang violence, oppressive poverty and economic injustice south of the U.S. border.
Starting the day after a talk I gave at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Parish in Tucson, Arizona, I entered into a migrant immersion experience.
Arranged by my kind host Salvatorian Fr. Bill Remmel, my migrant immersion journey started with joining a team of Tucson Samaritans.
The Samaritans are a faith-based group who regularly patrol – mostly on foot – very remote areas of the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona. They leave jugs of life-saving water along hot rugged terrain traveled by very poor migrant children, women and men seeking a safe, decent place to live in the U.S.
Because there are relatively few legal visas issued annually by the U.S. government for much needed low-skilled laborers, and due to an already existing 700 mile wall/fence along the U.S.-Mexico border coupled with thousands of Border Patrol agents, most undocumented workers in order to try to avoid being arrested, dangerously trek through the desert to hopefully reach a U.S. workplace.
On the day I went out with the Tucson Samaritans, appropriately enough we met up at Southside Presbyterian Church – where the modern sanctuary movement in the U.S. was born.
We traveled south stopping close to the U.S.-Mexico border…