For Immediate Release: May 20, 2018
Contact: Jamie Wilson, English and Spanish (520) 730-2665
15th Annual Migrant Trail Walk: 15 Years of Bearing Witness to Migrant Deaths
Monday, May 28, 2018
Southside Presbyterian Church
317 W. 23rd Street
Tucson, AZ—For the 15th consecutive year, more than 50 people will embark on a week-long, 75-mile walk from Sásabe, Sonora, Mexico to Tucson, Arizona to call for an end to migrant deaths along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Since the 1990s, more than 7,000 men, women and children are known to have lost their lives crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Their deaths are a direct result of flawed U.S. border and immigration policies that have intentionally diverted migration into more isolated and desolate terrains of the Sonoran desert. The remains of 58 people have been recovered in Southern Arizona since October, 2017. During fiscal year 2016-2017, 147 remains were recovered, according to the Office of the Medical Examiner for Pima County. In 2017, 412 migrant deaths were recorded along the entirety of the U.S.-Mexico Border.
This year’s Migrant Trail Walk is happening in the midst of increasing national efforts by the U.S. administration to dramatically expand policing, technology, and infrastructure in the Southwest borderlands, including building additional border walls. The walk also calls attention to the increasing enforcement in the interior of the United States, where raids and roundups of undocumented people are tearing families apart and instilling fear in our communities.
As the summer approaches, and Arizona temperatures are already reaching searing triple-digits, the number of migrants who will perish from dehydration and exposure dramatically increases. Participants of the Migrant Trail undertake this yearly trek to call attention and demand a stop to these tragic and preventable deaths.
“Every year I walk the Migrant Trail I hope it is the last one. Every day after the walk I hope that our government will end the brutal inhumane policies that result in thousands of innocent people dying in our borderlands. Alas, the militarization of our borders continues and intensifies every day. Instead of using our valuable resources to improve people’s health, education and well-being, the strongest and wealthiest country in the world wastes these resources on building walls, fences and other forms of militarization which result in killing innocent people and torturing our environment and our people in the borderlands,” said Tucson resident Mohyeddin Abdulaziz, who has walked for over a decade with the group
In May 2004, the first group of walkers initiated The Migrant Trail: We Walk for Life, coinciding with the formation of the No Más Muertes/No More Deaths movement. It has grown to be a multinational endeavor of allies who hail from diverse regions, faith backgrounds, ages, and ethnicities and walk together in solidarity with our migrant friends and their families to demand an end to migrant deaths on the border. People from all over the U.S., Europe and Latin America have participated in the walk over the years. The youngest person to complete the entire walk was 7, the oldest 80.
“For the fifteenth year, we stand in solidarity with migrants and their families. We demand an end to the tragic deaths, to the militarization, to the division of communities along the U.S.-Mexico border,” says Kat Rodriguez, who has helped to organize the walk since its inception in 2004. “Thousands of men, women, and children have died avoidable deaths. Our untenable border policies funnel them year after year into the most hostile and desolate areas of the Sonoran Desert. This can and must be stopped.”
More than 20 community sponsor organizations from across the United States, Mexico, and Canada are supporting this year’s annual walk. A full list of sponsors is available here: https://azmigranttrail.com/2017-sponsors/.
The Migrant Trail will begin Monday, May 28th at 2:00pm in Sásabe, Sonora. Carpools depart at 10:45 am from Southside Presbyterian (317 W. 23rd Street) immediately following the press conference in Tucson. The walkers arrive on Sunday, June 3rd at 11:30 am to Kennedy Park, Ramada #3, for a closing ceremony. The Migrant Trail is a non-violent, family-friendly event, and is free and open to the community.
Participants and organizers of the Migrant Trail call on all people of conscience to stand in solidarity with our migrant sisters and brothers and call on the U.S. government to end practices and policies that cause migrant deaths.