Last month, border patrol agents arrested four undocumented immigrants seeking medical care at an aid camp outside Tucson. Humanitarian groups who offer help to people crossing through the desert fear it was the start of a new crackdown.
Standing on the side of South Sasabe Road just outside Three Points, Arizona, Alvaro Enciso and Ron Kovatch consult their handheld GPS. Displaying a two-mile radius, the screen is littered with dozens of red dots. “The dots are deaths,” Kovatch explains.
It’s overcast and not yet 10 a.m., but the temperature has already climbed past 90 degrees. By the time noon rolls around and the clouds high above the desert have burned off, it’ll be 113 degrees, hot enough to burn your lungs with every breath.
Enciso takes in the view and raves about the beauty of the Sonoran Desert, which draws tourists from across the globe. “But this desert has a secret,” he says. “Three thousand people have died here. Two thousand have disappeared. And nobody knows about this shit.”
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