Last year over 200 people lost their lives as they tried to cross the border from Mexico into Arizona. They died from dehydration in the 120-degree heat of the Sonoran Desert. They died in storm drains as they tried to cross during the flash-flood season. They died in the trunks of vehicles that were abandoned by “coyotes” (smugglers), and in rollover accidents during high-speed chases.
That’s just in Arizona. Hundreds more died attempting to cross into California, New Mexico and Texas. The problems along the 2,300-mile border between Mexico and the U.S. have grown to crisis proportions. President Bush knows this, some congressional representatives know it, and it has become an inescapable challenge to churches in both countries.
Rick Ufford-Chase was recently elected moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He is the founder and international director of BorderLinks, a faith-based binational education project on the U.S./Mexican border, and cofounder of No More Deaths (www.nomoredeaths.org).