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Monday, June 07, 2004

Protesters of immigration policy complete 75-mile walk

Protesters of immigration policy complete 75-mile walk

Protesters of immigration policy complete 75-mile walk


Associated Press
Jun. 7, 2004 12:45 PM


TUCSON - About 30 people completed their 75-mile journey through the desert in an effort to call attention to U.S. immigration policy.

"This isn't about pretending to be migrants," said Kat Rodriguez, a member of Tucson-based Derechos Humanos. "This is about bearing witness to what they go through, and it's incredible and horrific to see the true realities of what these people are forced into."

The walk began May 31 in Sasabe on the Mexico border and ended at the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector headquarters on Sunday.

The core group of about 30 walkers were joined by more than 200 people as they reached the front of the Border Patrol building. The crowd chanted "No more dead" and "Justice now" in English and Spanish.

Those that walked the 75-mile route said they spent a lot of time thinking and talking about how their experiences compared with those of illegal immigrants crossing the desert, said Melissa Rodis, a lawyer who represents farmer workers.

"Each of us will drink about 12 gallons of water by the time we're finished, but most migrants carry only a gallon of water for the whole journey," Rodis said.

The group members slept in tents and had fruit and water brought to them every 1.5 miles, but they still finished each day exhausted, said Rodriguez.

Migrants usually eat and drink little and sleep on the ground.

"Another big difference for us is that no one was chasing after us, and we didn't fear for our lives," she said.

The walkers said they hoped their journey would bring attention to the growing death toll along the border as the government increases enforcement pressure.

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