Each month volunteers from the non-profit group Aguilas del Desierto take to the Arizona desert looking for missing migrants.

Founded by Ely Ortiz in 2009, the groups aim is to look for illegal migrants who go missing as they cross the Mexico–United States border.

This trip that began the week before Christmas produced the skeletal remains of eight migrants over a span of two days.

This desert is near the Barry Goldwater Air Base where aircraft practice with live bombs. It’s a totally empty piece of land the size of Connecticut. It’s a deathtrap for those who try to cross it.

Temperatures in this area often top 100 degrees. Those temperatures would require at least a gallon or more of water per day.

Since it would take nearly two weeks walking to cross, you’d need about 15 gallons of water weighing 8 pounds each or about 130 pounds per person.

In Mexico migrants buy black jugs so the reflections won’t be seen by border guards when they hide.

Before 2000, the remains of less than five migrants were found each year, the Arizona OpenGIS Initiative for Deceased Migrants reported.

In 2000, just one was found. In 2001, the number soared to 79 and then to 151 the year after that.

The number of annual migrant deaths since then has remained well above 100, according to Humane Borders, a Tucson-based group that compiles data and logs it on the OpenGIS website.

From 2001 through 2018, the remains of at least 3,011 dead migrants have been recovered in southern Arizona, according to the Humane Borders website.

Many have been impossible to identify.

Some Final Thoughts

Would a wall slow down or reduce these numbers? Most migrants are ill prepared to make such and arduous journey even with a “coyote” guide.

Temperature, terrain, food, all reduce the chances of survival. The sheer weight of food and water needed would be more than most people are able to carry.

Are we at fault not giving these people a clear path to enter our country? Is the message of America “You must risk your life to get here?”

Should our embassies be more vocal in educating migrants how they can live the American dream without taking their life in their hands and paying big bucks to smugglers?

Surely, we can find a better way.

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