Make Mexico Pay for the Blog

The Dangerous Arizona Border

Kraig Beyerlein, a sociologist at Notre Dam, came to speak about his findings on social justice in the desert and faith-based mobilizing to save lives. His studies focused on the Arizona border, a border that is lethal and unauthorized. Undocumented migrants funneled to the Arizona border. This part of the border is highly dangerous because of the extreme tempetures and harsh terrain. Many people die from exposure to hypothermia, hyperthermia and dehydration. Beyerlein’s description of the lethal border in Arizona relates to Douglas S. Massey, Jorge Durand and Karen A. Pren’s article, “Why Border Enforcement Backfired.” In this piece they talk about how increased militarization of the border actually increased the number of undocumented migrants. When border enforcement was increased, migrants began to cross the border at more “remote, isolated, and environmentally hostile sectors,” such as the Arizona border (Massey et al. 1573). Crossing is increasingly difficult and there is an increase deaths here. In addition, at harsh border locations there is an increase in the number of people who use coyotes here because of the difficulty of terrain.

There are three organizations in Arizona that try to help migrants: Humane Borders, Los Samaritanos, and No More Deaths. They cannot help migrants gain territory in trying to cross the border but they can provide them with water and medical help. These groups are led by religious organizations but secular people still participate and by participating secular people grew to appreciate progressive religion and see its value for social change. Overall, Beyerlein looks at the effects of people crossing harsh borders like Arizona while Massey, Durand and Pren observe why people cross at these places in the first place.


Colan Grace • November 10, 2016

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