We spoke with Oscar Lopez of Arizona No More Deaths, a ministry of the Unitarian/ Universalist Church which seeks to prevent fatalities among migrants crossing the border from Mexico into the United States. He shares with us his thoughts on what motivates him to volunteer with this organization which aids undocumented immigrants making this perilous journey.

The team at No Deaths Arizona with the water jugs they leave for thirsty migrants.

“Every family in America has a unique history of migration.  For many, this means a treacherous journey through Arizona’s harsh Sonoran Desert.  The trip may take two weeks or more, in temperatures as cold as thirty and as hot as a hundred and thirty degrees.  The human body requires a gallon of water a day in these climates.  Carrying enough for the journey is physically impossible.  Many humans succumb to dehydration or exposure.”

These jugs were slashed when we came upon them, likely by ATV riders judging by the tracks

“The United States government declares this trip to be illegal to deter persons from making this trip.  The government underestimates the desperation which leads people to embark on this perilous journey.  We’re a group of concerned citizens who believe that a customs violation is not punishable by death from dehydration in the desert.”

Travel by truck is necessary in this beautiful, but unforgiving terrain.

“Our work involves leaving food and water for migrants and to be a humanizing presence in an otherwise volatile environment.  To that end, we work toward a future of no more deaths in the Sonoran Desert. By funding a bucket of food or a gallon of water, you may save the life of another human in a dire situation.”

The end of a long day

For those interested in contact with Arizona No More Deaths, you can connect via email at [email protected]. They’re currently conducting a gofundme to help raise funds to continue their work.