Fifty activists from the United States, Canada, Central America and Mexico on Monday began a trek on foot that will take them to Arizona by the same route used by undocumented migrants in crossing the desert.
The group began the march in the Mexican state of Sonora and in the coming days will cross the border on a journey of 120 kilometers (74 miles) that will bring them to Tucson next Sunday.
“It’s very sad to note that we continue hearing the same stories again and again,” Todd Miller, one of the founders of the 11-year-old Migrant Trail initiative, said at a press conference.
Miller related the story of an undocumented woman from Sonora who tried to cross the Arizona desert on foot as part of a group of migrants.
“On the third day, the water and food ran out, on the fifth she said that she could only describe it as if ‘the mountain talked to them,’ on the sixth, her nose began to bleed profusely and she suffered convulsions,” he said.
The group was rescued by the U.S. Border Patrol and the woman had to be revived in a hospital, Miller said.
At least 62 migrants have died in the Sonoran Desert since last October.
Miller said that when the trek was first started years ago they had hope that it would not need to go on for very long and that soon they could celebrate the approval of immigration reform. “Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened,” he added.
Immigration reform has remained blocked in the U.S. House of Representatives almost a year after a bipartisan reform bill was approved in the Senate.
Colombian Presidential Election Heads to Run-off
President Juan Manuel Santos and challenger Oscar Ivan Zuluaga are headed to a runoff on June 15 to determine who will be Colombia’s next president.
Zuluaga won 29.26 percent of the vote in Sunday’s presidential election, while Santos came in second with 25.66 percent.
“What came out clearly today is that Colombians will have two options in three weeks: they can choose between those of us who want an end to the war and those who prefer a war without end, and we are going to win with peace,” Santos told supporters after the results were released on Sunday night.
Zuluaga, who is backed by former President Alvaro Uribe, told his supporters he would work for peace with justice.
“I am going to work every day so that Colombia can achieve peace, but a peace that benefits only the Colombian people,” Zuluaga told supporters at a convention center in Bogota.
Zuluaga has been a harsh critic of the Santos administration’s peace negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrilla group.
The politician has said he would not allow FARC members to go unpunished for the crimes they committed.
Zuluaga got the biggest applause when he mentioned Uribe, his political godfather, vowing to take up the former president’s “standard” and give the country hope.
Santos, for his part, is pinning his hopes for a win in the runoff on support from the losing candidates.
“Today, those who want peace are the majority,” Santos said, referring to the support that the losing candidates received in Sunday’s election.