Wednesday, May 20, 2009

6th Annual Migrant Trail Announced

Crossposted from The Sanctuary

The Migrant Trail:
We Walk for Life
May 25-31, 2009

Our Vision:

The precarious reality of our borderlands calls us to walk. We walk together on a journey of peace to remember people, friends and family who have died, others who have crossed, and people who continue to come. We walk to bear witness to the tragedy of death and of the inhumanity in our midst. Lastly, we walk as a community, in defiance of the borders that attempt to divide us, committed to working together for the human dignity of all peoples.

In 1994, the U.S. government under the direction of President Bill Clinton, instituted Operation Gatekeeper that provided funds and personnel to militarize the border between Baja California and California. The campaign was specifically designed to divert the wave of humanity inland:

The purpose of the new plan was to stem the tide of illegal immigrants crossing the border from Mexico into the United States and to shift the remaining traffic eastward, where the Border Patrol believed it enjoyed a strategic advantage over would-be crossers. This new approach to patrolling the border was named "Operation Gatekeeper." Since the plan's launch in 1994 at Imperial Beach, the same operational concepts have been implemented at the remaining stations in the San Diego Sector, beginning with Chula Vista - the station immediately east of Imperial Beach - and continuing in an easterly progression station by station to the San Diego Sector's eastern border. (emphasis mine)


Triple-digit heat. Non-existent sources of water. Desolation. Death.

"Strategic advantage" indeed.

The above graph comes from a 2007 policy brief and study, authored by Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith, M. Melissa McCormick, Daniel Martinez, and Inez Magdalena Duarte, through the University of Arizona's Binational Migration Institute. It shows the explosion of death wrought in the Tucson Sector - part of that "eastward" mentioned by the Department of Justice - in the aftermath of Operation Gatekeeper.

Those of us who call la frontera home have not remained silent in the face of this humanitarian crisis. Grassroots organizations have mobilized to build coalitions of neighborhoods, church congregations, elected officials, student groups, and others to raise awareness of the disastrous end many of these economic refugees suffer in the desert.

From May 25-31st the 6th Annual Migrant Trail will bear witness to the humanitarian crisis that marches unimpeded, even under a new President. This 75-mile trek spans the distance between the communities of Sasabe, Sonora, México and Tucson, Arizona. Details on how to support this endeavor below the fold.

Monday, May 25th, 2:00pm:
Sásabe, Sonora:
Join us for the sending forth ceremony and the 4.8 mile walk to our first campsite on the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge

Sunday, May 31, 11:30am:
Tucson, Arizona:
Join us for the welcoming celebration as participants complete the 75-mile journey, bearing witness to the gauntlet of death that has claimed more than 5,000 men, women and children on the U.S.-México border.

For more information, please contact: or call 520.770.1373

The Migrant Trail is sponsored by the following groups: Migrant Trail Walk Committee, Coalición de Derechos Humanos, BorderLinks, Mennonite Central Committee US, Catholic Relief Services - Mexico Program, No More Deaths - Phoenix and Tucson, 8th Day Center for Justice, Coloradans for Immigrants Rights, Frontera de Cristo, Humane Borders, American Friends Service Committee, JPIC Office of the St. Barbara Province Franciscans, Shalom Mennonite Fellowship, Casa Maria, and Church of the Good Shepherd.

"The Migrant Trail is an important spiritual witness to the challenging reality of our borderlands today," says Brother David Buer, a Franciscan brother serving in Tucson. "It is a moral imperative that we embrace our desperate migrant brothers and sisters with more humane policies and action."


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