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Touching the Wall at the Border

Aguilas del Desierto conducted a search this past weekend, looking for the body of a man missing for several months. Sr. Maria Louise Edwards, VP of Aguilas, said, “The family had contacted us a week ago, hoping for closure, because someone had recently reported seeing his body.”

Leaving at 4 a.m. to drive three hours to the town of Boulevard, volunteers began searching around the hill near where the man's body was last seen. “As we searched around the side of the hill, something up ahead looked strangely man-made. As we got closer,” noted Sister Maria Louise, “I realized it was the Wall. I had never seen it firsthand, and I didn't know if I would ever be this close again.

“So, setting the search aside, I started walking toward the dark rusty ‘fence’ that has caused so much controversy and so much loss of life. I wasn't the only one that felt this way. Soon everyone was leaving the search area to get close enough to touch the Wall.

“It was so much higher than I expected. I wondered aloud how anyone could possibly climb over it. One volunteer said they use ladders on the Mexican side to climb up, and then drop down onto the US side. It seemed impossible to not get hurt.

“The Wall seemed to be about two stories high, maybe 20 feet. Another volunteer remarked that the gentleman we were searching for didn't get very far. He had broken his leg when he dropped down. He tried to continue, but within a very short time, the group had to leave him behind.

“Someone else pointed to a powdery sandy area and said that authorities rake this sand so footprints will be clearly seen if someone jumps down and walks across it. The bars are about six inches apart.

“One of the guys tried to climb it like a coconut tree, but he didn't get very far. I put my arm through and for a few moments I was in two countries. I wondered how anything ‘we have’ could need this much protection.

"The group returned to the search area a little subdued. Unfortunately, the vegetation was so thick that we did not locate the migrant's body.”

Aguilas del Desierto is a search and rescue nonprofit that operates in the Arizona desert between the U.S. and Mexico. They find and identify the bodies of those who died in their attempt to cross the border and assist in the rescue of those in danger. To learn more, visit their website at