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Spirituality underpins migrant activism in US borderlands

Protecting migrants and honoring the humanity of those who died on the northbound trek is a kind of religion in southern Arizona, where faith communities four decades ago founded the Sanctuary Movement sheltering Central American refugees. AP photo.
Posted at 9:06 AM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-08 12:06:25-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Protecting migrants and honoring the humanity of those who died on the northbound trek is a kind of religion in southern Arizona, where faith communities four decades ago founded the Sanctuary Movement sheltering Central American refugees.

Spirituality remains at the heart of borderlands activism, with faith-based groups like the Tucson Samaritans that leave water and food in the Sonoran Desert. Artist Alvaro Enciso plants three or four crosses a week at sites where human remains have been found.

Over eight years, he’s marked more than 1,000 locations across lands dotted with empty black water jugs and camouflage backpacks beneath circling turkey vultures.