Crossing with the Virgin: Stories from the Migrant Trail

Overview


Over the past ten years, more than 4,000 people have died while crossing the Arizona desert to find jobs, join families, or start new lives. Other migrants tell of the corpses they pass—bodies that are never recovered or counted.

Crossing With the Virgin collects stories heard from migrants about these treacherous treks—firsthand accounts told to volunteers for the Samaritans, a humanitarian group that seeks to prevent such unnecessary deaths by providing these travelers with ...

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Crossing with the Virgin: Stories from the Migrant Trail

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Overview


Over the past ten years, more than 4,000 people have died while crossing the Arizona desert to find jobs, join families, or start new lives. Other migrants tell of the corpses they pass—bodies that are never recovered or counted.

Crossing With the Virgin collects stories heard from migrants about these treacherous treks—firsthand accounts told to volunteers for the Samaritans, a humanitarian group that seeks to prevent such unnecessary deaths by providing these travelers with medical aid, water, and food. Other books have dealt with border crossing; this is the first to share stories of immigrant suffering at its worst told by migrants encountered on desert trails.

The Samaritans write about their encounters to show what takes place on a daily basis along the border: confrontations with Border Patrol agents at checkpoints reminiscent of wartime; children who die in their parents’ desperate bid to reunite families; migrants terrorized by bandits; and hovering ghost-like above nearly every crossing, the ever-present threat of death.

These thirty-nine stories are about the migrants, but they also tell how each individual author became involved with this work. As such, they offer not only a window into the migrants’ plight but also a look at the challenges faced by volunteers in sometimes compromising situations—and at their own humanizing process.

Crossing With the Virgin raises important questions about underlying assumptions and basic operations of border enforcement, helping readers see past political positions to view migrants as human beings. It will touch your heart as surely as it reassures you that there are people who still care about their fellow man.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Publisher

"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." —Publishers Weekly starred review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816528547
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2010
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 997,705
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Kathryn Ferguson is a dancer, choreographer, and independent filmmaker.  She studied modern and ethnic dance and music in the U.S., Morocco, and Cairo, and teaches dance at her studio in Tucson, Arizona. She has produced and directed two feature length award-winning documentaries, “The Unholy Tarahumara” and “Rita of the Sky”, and worked in media for PBS KUAT-TV for four years. Since the year 2004, she has volunteered with Samaritans to work on the desert to prevent deaths. Norma A. Price graduated from the University of Tennessee school of Medicine in Memphis, Tennessee, where she also completed internship and residency in Internal Medicine, followed by a fellowship in Hematology. Subsequent Oncology fellowships at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas, and Emory University Hospital and Clinic in Atlanta, completed her medical training. She remains committed to the work of Samaritans and other humanitarian and activist groups that focus on border issues. Ted Parks became involved with the Samaritan movement in the fall of 2005.  He worked in the restaurant industry for twenty years including eight years as the owner of a restaurant in Tucson, Arizona. He is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and has appeared in numerous film and television roles.  A founding member of The Theatre of N.O.T.E. he attended the University of California, Irvine and has produced, directed or acted in well over fifty plays.  He has written or co-written three plays, numerous short stories and a novel.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The book is a great read from the introduction to the very last page. These are extremely powerful stories that run the emotional gamet. There are expressions of love and compassion but also anger and fear.

    The stories really put a face on the people crossing the border and provide intimacy into their lives. So often what is spoken of regarding the migrants consists of statistics and dehumanization of the individuals. This book puts the reader on the ground in the desert, the hospitals or wherever these interactions take place and the stories pull you in to feel a part of the situation. The immigration issue is a highly emotional issue often filled with much anger, fear and hate. I believe this book transcends the political and legal aspects of immigration to humanize the migrants. The stories share the physical and emotional struggles of the migrants which illuminates to the reader the similarities of all humans. The needs and desires of all humans are the same, they don't exist just North of the border. I would personally be honored to call these Samaritans doing this humanitarian work my friend or neighbor. Their love, compassion and caring for their fellow human beings is admirable and wonderful. It proves to me that there are great people in the world and provides hope for the future. I highly recommend the book for its content and writing skills displayed by the authors. I also liked the diversity in writing styles. I found the book to be very difficult to put down and one where I have gone back to reread stories that have greatly impacted me, there are several of those.

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