When Death in the Desert is Not an Accident | Sojourners

When Death in the Desert is Not an Accident

By forcing migrants into the barren wilderness, U.S. Border Patrol lets heatstroke and dehydration do the deadly dirty work.

IN DOUGLAS, ARIZ., in the shadow of the U.S.-Mexico border wall, a cemetery stretches across the desert. Between the orderly rows of gravestones, I notice clusters of cement blocks lodged in the sand with the same word etched into their flat surfaces: Unidentified. “Unidentified Female,” “Unidentified Male,” carved into the center of the tablet, along with a date: “Found Aug. 9, 2004.” “Found Dec. 31, 2005.” “Found Jan. 18, 2009.” “Found Feb. 12, 2009.”

A Mennonite activist whispers over my shoulder, explaining that the date marks when the remains were found in the borderland wilderness—a corpse in decomposition, a skeleton bleached in the sun, perhaps only a skull or a set of teeth.

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