In late February 2019, Pastor Israel Cabrera received a call asking if his church, Caminos de Vida in El Paso, could accept 162 migrants from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – all of them families. He was given less than thirty minutes to decide. Ultimately, he chose to take them in. In the following days, Caminos de Vida received donations from members of the community for the migrants: sleeping cots, clothes, bread, bottled water and other supplies. Many of the families had been traveling for weeks through Mexico to reach the U.S. One woman in the group said that before she arrived at the church, she and her children had walked through the desert with a group of migrants for four days with no food and scarce water. The group was searching for U.S. Border Patrol to turn themselves in, when they got lost. “We thought we were going to die,” she said. As a last resort, the migrants eventually sat down in the middle of a road until a man on a motorcycle spotted them and called for help.
Alex Hall, 2019 U.S.-Mexico Border Fellow