The past fiscal year saw the death toll of discovered remains to be at 122. Those remains are assumed to be of migrants attempting to cross the treacherous Arizona-Sonora desert. Every year, on Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the Coalicion de Derechos Humanos organizes a pilgrimage from St. John’s Church in Tucson to the San Xavier Mission some eight miles away to honor those who didn’t make it, but to also highlight the human rights crisis in the desert that the Coalicion says is ignored by the public and by policymakers:
Since border policies were implemented in the 1990s, it is estimated that the remains of more than 6,000 men, women and children have been recovered on the U.S.-México border. This does not include the countless souls whose bodies have yet to be found, those who will never be found and whose families continue to suffer the agony of not knowing what has become of their loved ones. “These deaths are a direct result of U.S. border policies, which have routed thousands of immigrants to their deaths in the rivers, deserts, and at the hands of border and law enforcement officials.” We ask that this crisis along our borders be brought to an end, humane border policies be implemented, and that justice be sought for all who live and work on the border.
Isabel Garcia is an organizer with the Coalicion and talked to KGNU about the continuing work to raise public awareness about these deaths. Coalicion de Derechos Humanos is a grassroots organization which promotes respect for human/civil rights and fights the militarization of the Southern Border region, discrimination, and human rights abuses by federal, state, and local law enforcement officials affecting U.S. and non-U.S. citizens alike.
KGNU has brought you on-location coverage of past pilgrimages. (see kgnu.org/metro)