Crossing with the Virgin
240 pages, 6 x 9
3 maps, 22 photos
Release Date:15 Apr 2010
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Crossing with the Virgin

Stories from the Migrant Trail

The University of Arizona Press
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.
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
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.
List of Illustrations
Claudia Aburto Guzmán
Rev. John M. Fife
Discovering the Migrant Trail
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