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Publishers WeeklyStarred Review.
In this gut-wrenching collection of true stories, authors Price, Parks, and Ferguson provide an eyes-on-the-ground look at illegal immigration in Arizona. The three Tuscon residents are members of the "Samaritans," volunteers who patrol the Arizona desert, in opposition to law-enforcing Border Patrol, offering water and medical assistance to Mexican workers crossing illegally to find work. The journey is physically grueling-daytime temperatures on the desert floor can reach 130 degrees-but the bureaucratic challenges are daunting, too: "'Operation Streamline,' a Border Patrol policy, selects one hundred migrants a day to prosecute as criminals." Besides the risk of pain and death, each migrant worker's quest means the separation of families, perhaps permanently. The reality is that emergency medical care is the only thing that saves sick or injured migrants making the trip; the subject of one story had half his foot snapped off in a railcar and spent seven nights stranded in the desert before finally finding (temporary) solace at the clinic where Price, a physician, volunteers. Trading off chapters, the authors deliver immigrants' stories calmly and objectively, but their compassionate message is clear, and especially timely in light of Arizona's controversial new immigrant laws. Though difficult to read, this important collection provides vital, humanizing perspective on a divisive issue, with stories that will stick with readers for a long time.
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