January 19, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – A new report by humanitarian organizations reveals that Border Patrol agentshave been systemically destroying water bottles left in desert areas for undocumented immigrants in the Arizona desert, condemning people to die of thirst.While its unknown if this is occurring in California, this article in Britain’s The Guardian hit home for me in a visceral way, reminding me of an experience that brought me to tears.
On the 4th of July In 2008, I rode alongwith Border Angels founder Enrique Morones. We discovered sabotage of water bottles his group had left in rugged locations--all slashed open, empty. My article, Dying to Come to America, was published in our very first edition of East County Magazine. Morones vividly described what it is like for people to die of dehydration – hallucinating, throwing off clothes and shoes. We saw the signs of this torment – a woman’s high-heeled shoe cast aside, a man’s crumpled shirt. The heat was triple digits.
I went along to learn about experiences faced by people so desperate to come to America that they rely on water left by benevolent strangers to survive.I learned that coyotes, or human traffickers, often lie to the migrants, telling them it's just a short walk to freedom; some women dressed up to meet their husbands are unaware of the dangers. I choked up, imagining their pain. My story included photos of those slashed water bottles and graves of people--some so very young--who died crossing East County's rugged border mountains in their failed quest to find freedom.