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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 9/2/19

Death and Resistance on the U.S.-Mexico Border: A Democracy Now! Special

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AMY GOODMAN: What is this area?

ALVARO ENCISO: The Altar Valley. We are close to Tucson. The idea is that the more money that you have to pay the coyotes, the less you walk. The less money you have, the more you have to walk. So, if you have enough money, they will you will walk to Tucson, which is that road that we came on, Ajo Road, and they'll get picked up there. The idea is that you'll get picked up after the checkpoint. But if you don't have enough money, you're going to have to walk another hundred miles, 80 miles, to Interstate 8, which is the road that goes to San Diego.

And, you know, the jurisdiction of the Border Patrol now is a hundred miles; it's not just the border. It's a hundred miles in, into the U.S. So you have to walk at least a hundred miles to be out of Border Patrol jurisdiction. But then ICE takes over, you know, so it's always a layer and layers and layers of people. So you have to live in the shadows.

AMY GOODMAN: What kind of cactus are they?

ALVARO ENCISO: The ones you need to worry about are these, are the jumping chollas. They jump at you when they feel any kind of warmth, and, you know, they will attach to you.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about what that means for a migrant.

ALVARO ENCISO: Well, at night, you will go right into one of those, and you get hundreds of those things, and you cannot remove them. And then they get infected. In two, three days, you are infected. So, the infection debilitates your body, and the lack of water and everything. And then you just sit in front of, you know, under a true, kind of take a break, you know, but you don't get up. That's how we find them, sitting there under a tree.

AMY GOODMAN: And the rattlesnakes?

ALVARO ENCISO: The rattlesnakes, you know, there are about seven species of rattlesnakes here in southern Arizona. And at night they are very active. And they bite you, and that's the end. You know, you can't you know, who's going to take you to the hospital? You know, you lose your leg, you know, depending on the kind of snake there is.

AMY GOODMAN: So, this happens. It's not only migrants in the desert, but to be safe, they want to start moving at night, and that makes it very, very dangerous.

ALVARO ENCISO: Yes. And, you know, in the old days, they used to carry these regular gallons of water. But now that water reflects at night. So they started painting them with paint black and using shoe polish. And then people in Mexico started making them. So now you buy black water bottles that do not reflect any light. However, black doesn't reflect light, so the water gets very, very hot. And so you're drinking water that's 130 degrees. So you don't drink as much, because it doesn't taste right. But you start dehydrating.

That's why we have these groups here like Samaritans and No More Deaths, who walk the trails, putting water out there and looking for anybody that may need assistance in some way. So, these are the remnants of migration, you know, the gear that they...

AMY GOODMAN: A shirt or a cloth.

ALVARO ENCISO: Yeah. It's a shirt, most likely.

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, this looks like it was a shirt.

ALVARO ENCISO: You die here, and you don't last very long, because the animals will get at you very quickly. And in matter of two weeks, you disappear. The animals begin to grab their parts. You know, the vultures eat very well here. You can see they're nice and fat.

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