Questions about the project...

Why are you doing this?
Why is the property owner doing this?
Does Casa Segura provide Internet access?
How many people die crossing the border through Arizona?
Why are migrants crossing through more dangerous desert locations?
Can I make my own Casa Segura?
Do you believe in border control?
Is this legal?

Why are you doing this?

Casa Segura was originally inspired by a series of conversations with friends whose home on the border was broken into by migrants and the dilemma they faced in relation to the desperate needs of individuals crossing their land. These friends saw few existing options for how they might respond to the situation, ruling out any defensive measures in the form of large fences, guns, militia group surveillance etc. Instead, they wanted to address the desperate, life threatening conditions that force individuals to extreme actions in order to survive.

These border home owners sought to find a compassionate, humane response that would provide life saving supplies to individuals in need, while simultaneously protecting their home.

Casa Segura provides concerned private property owners on the border with an opportunity to create a life-saving beacon in the desert, a platform for engaging with the anonymous individuals crossing their land, and a non-aggressive means of protecting their homes. The project makes manifest the compassionate choices available to individuals who live within this highly charged border region. As an alternative to the further militarization of the border, Casa Segura offers a new method of engagement and free exchange. Shifting away from the abstract rhetoric of numbers, the project focuses on the anonymous--yet intimate--relationship between a property owner and the individual migrants walking their land.

Why is the property owner doing this?

The property owner responds:
Not long ago, our house was broken into while we were away. The only things taken were some jeans and shirts, a few pair of walking shoes, and food. We were expecting to feel outraged and violated when we returned to the house, but when we realized that it could only have been desperate migrantes, we felt sad--for not being able to do more for them--their taking only necessities spoke eloquently of their need and their desperation. We have always been aware of the migration--evidence of makeshift campsites on our and neighbors' land: empty water bottles, bloody socks, empty cans of Mexican-labelled food, all left in haste. The Border Patrol suggested protecting our house with motion detectors, alarms, leaving a car outside at all times, keeping a radio going inside, even puchasing a shotgun. "If you don't hit them, you'll blow a hole so wide, they'll have no trouble finding can their way out." We asked if it would be okay (within the law) to leave a box of supplies outside our house for them. No one objected, so we bought warm clothing, shoes, canned goods, bottled water, (a can opener), and left a note in Spanish. It has been emptied a number of times. Some neighbors have taken to doing the same. A tiny gesture for us, but a way of helping the countless invisible people.

Does Casa Segura provide Internet access?

No, you cannot access the internet using the equipment housed in the structure. Visitors are invited to share a part of their story via the touch screen interface (there is no mouse or keyboard) and are not provided access to any other programs.

How many people die crossing the border through Arizona?

From October, 2009 - September, 2010, 253 human remains were found.
From October, 2008 - September, 2009, 211 human remains were found.
From October, 2007 - September, 2008, 183 human remains were found.
From October, 2006 - September, 2007, 237 human remains were found.
From October, 2005 - September, 2006, 205 human remains were found.

Numbers are from CoaliciĆ³n de Derechos Humanos ("The Human Rights Coalition")

Additional information related to deaths along the border can be found at the AZ Starnet database.

Why are migrants crossing through more dangerous desert locations?

There are many forces that dictate the location of border crossing and routes can change quickly. U.S. border policy and patrol patterns have a profound impact on these locations. Beginning in the early 1990's, the U.S. instituted new methods for curtailing migrant crossings through urban locations along the border. The three largest initiatives are Operation Gatekeeper in California, Operation Hold-the-Line in Texas, and Operation Safeguard in Arizona. One of the results is that migrants have been forced into much more dangerous desert locations for crossing into the United States.

Can I make my own Casa Segura?

Yes! Please visit the Building Instructions page to learn more about constructing a full-scale or a small-scale version of the project.

What are the economic impacts of illegal immigrants to Arizona?

There is an exceptional research paper titled "The Economic Impacts of Immigrants in Arizona" that was published July 18, 2007 by the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy and can be downloaded here.

Do you believe in border control?

We believe that the U.S. border policy is in need of transformation. We support the many good men and women who work for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Where is the prototype going to be located?

To protect the privacy of the property owners, the exact location will not be disclosed.

Is this legal?

We do not advocate breaking any laws. Casa Segura is simply a site for anyone who happens upon it to get water, nutrition and basic medical supplies. The structure is not large enough to accommodate, nor is it intended for, living.

Humanitarian aid is never a crime.