Crossing with the Virgin

Kathryn Ferguson, Norma A. Price, and Ted Parks

Crossing with the Virgin

“I never met Lucresia, but her father, a kind and grateful man, occupies a unique niche in our community and a special place in our hearts. We became friends with Cesario during the several weeks he spent in Tucson while he made daily treks into the desert to search for Lucresia's body. It was early July, before the rains arrived, and the daytime temperatures were sweltering. I received a call from a person at Derechos Humanos, the human rights organization here in Tucson, who said a Mexican man had arrived in Tucson in search of his daughter. He asked if we, the Samaritans, could help. I recommended that they also contact one of the other volunteer organizations, No More Deaths (NMD), whose volunteers were camped in the desert near the border. Twice daily they made trips into the washes, into the cactus and creosote thickets, looking for migrants in need or in distress. Samaritans made daily trips from Tucson into the desert, driving along the highways and rutted four-wheel-drive roads and hiking the migrant trails. We would watch those routes.

Thus Cesario was introduced to the Tucson volunteer community, and the community came to embrace him and become endeared to him.”

So writes Norma Price, one of three authors of Crossing With the Virgin: Stories from the Migrant Trail. This small volume is a collection of stories heard from migrants about their treacherous trips across the desert in search of a better life for themselves and their families, assembled by members of the Samaritans, a volunteer group that works to prevent unnecessary deaths among the migrants who attempt the border crossing. It's the first book to share stories of immigrant suffering at its worst, told by migrants to the Samaritans as they go about their work in the desert.

The passage continues:

“Cesario's daughter Lucresia had left her home, a small town in northern Zacatecas, Mexico, to come north with her children so they could reunite with husband and father to make a better life. Her fifteen-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter made the trip with her. They were able to tolerate the harsh conditions of the Sonoran Desert much better than their mother. Lucresia found it very difficult at first and then impossible to keep up with her group. As they pushed on, she became more dehydrated. Finally, unable to continue, she sent her daughter on with the rest of the group. Her son, Jesús, stayed with her. He built a fire to signal for help, but none came.”

The migrants who cross the border in search of work and a better life for their children risk their lives to do so; this small volume tells the stories of some of those travelers and the people who do their best to help them. Be sure to read all about it.

Copyright © 2009, S. Halversen.
All Rights Reserved.