Welcome to Casa Segura/Bienvenidos a Casa Segura...

I don't want to go on being just a root in the shadows,
vacillating, extended, shivering with dream,
down in the damp bowels of earth,
absorbing it, thinking it, eating it every day.

-Pablo Neruda from 'Walking Around'

Border issues in the news...

Mapping the Border

Retired UA geosciences prof Ed McCullough scours the desert to document migrant trails--and save lives

Ed McCullough retired as a geosciences professor at the University of Arizona 10 years ago, and he stepped down as dean of science way back in 1992. But retirement hardly keeps him out of the field.

On a blazing morning at the end of August, he's bouncing north along Old Ruggles Road just west of Arivaca, a little town of ranchers and hippies some 10 miles north of the Mexican border. The dirt road might as well be called Old Rutted--it's that rough--but McCullough doesn't seem to mind. At 75, the snowy-haired scientist still loves driving his giant 4x4 into the wilderness--the "tulies," as he calls them--and getting out to hike through the spiny desert.

"I was a field geologist for years," he says, explaining away his impressive fitness. Some days, he admits, he treks for 12 hours, drinking water as he goes from the camel pack strapped to his back.

During his university days, he studied geologic hazards in the desert--what happens when rainwater floods the land or, conversely, what happens when too much groundwater has been pumped out underneath. Now, when he strides out into the desert on his long legs, he's not looking for land slides, or earth cracks, or other signs of subsidence.

Instead, he's searching for trash and clothes and footprints, the traces of human beings.

"There's the trail over there," he says, easing his huge vehicle to a stop in one of Old Ruggles' deepest ruts. To our right, up a hill on the east, he's spotted a path threading through the cactuses and mesquites.

When he climbs out, he sees two pairs of men's pants and two water bottles lying at the bottom of the hill. When he walks up the slope, he finds a couple of bottle caps and a mud-caked backpack, sure signs that this prickly path has been trod by undocumented migrants. It's one of scores of treacherous Arizona trails that border crossers walk to get farther into the United States.

"The deaths are taking place all along these corridors," he says.

Read the full article by Margaret Regan in the Tucson Weekly

'There are things worse than death'

The dying man couldn't even lift his head, but at least he had collapsed alongside a road, where the Americans spotted him.

It was morning, already 100 degrees, and he couldn't drink, couldn't be cooled down.

They loaded him into a car and drove him to the hospital.

"He wanted us to notify his family that he was dying. We couldn't hear his phone number; he was almost unconscious. That was the worst thing: We couldn't hear his number."

Read the full article by Billie Stanton in the Tucson Citizen

Border deaths rise 29% in past year

They come by the hundreds of thousands, mostly honest people seeking better jobs than they can get in their homeland.

And they die by the hundreds in Arizona's unforgiving desert.

Combine all the homicides and all the motor vehicle fatalities in Pima County each year and you'll have roughly the number of illegal immigrants who die trying to cross the U.S. Border Patrol's Tucson sector in the same period.

While arrests of illegal immigrants have fallen, the number of people dying in the desert and along its roads is rising dramatically.

Read the article by David L. Teibel in the Tucson Citizen

Immigrants' labors helped build America

Some Arizonans undoubtedly have taken heart from recent news reports - largely speculative - that illegal immigrants are preparing to self-deport to Mexico once the state's tough new employer sanctions law takes effect in January.

Perhaps they should hold off on the good-riddance party and replace it with a history lesson. Any unseemly rejoicing ignores the role immigrants have played in the building of America and the vibrant economy we enjoy.

"This is a nation peopled by the world," said Ronald Takaki, an internationally recognized scholar on multiculturalism.

The factors that "pushed" people out of their countries are varied, but there is one consistent reason the U.S. has "pulled" them here, he said.

Read the full article by Anne Denogean in the Tucson Citizen

At the U.S. Border, the Desert Takes a Rising Toll

SASABE, Ariz. — “I can’t breathe,” Felicitas Martínez Barradas gasped to her cousin as they stumbled across the border in 100-degree heat. “The sun is killing me.”

They had been walking for a day and a half through the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona, the purgatory that countless illegal immigrants pass through on their way from Mexico to the United States.

Ms. Martínez was 29 and not fit. A smuggler handed her a can of carbonated energy drink and caffeine pills. But she only got sicker and passed out, said her cousin, Julio Díaz.

Read the full article by Randal C. Archibold in The New York Times.

Related media feature can be found here.

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