Enhancing safety for migrants in Nogales

We do everything we possibly can to make the border a safer place for migrants. That’s what our work in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico is about.

Every service we offer gives us the chance to have an impact on the lives of people who in turn have a transformative impact on our lives.

Every morning, seven days a week, No More Deaths volunteers head to the Kino Border Initiative’s comedor (dining hall) to offer humanitarian aid to the migrants there. We help them make free, secure calls to their home countries, receive wire transfers from their family, and recover their money from the check or debit card that is given to them when they are deported. Without these services, our guests would be exposed to increased risk of robbery, extortion, and kidnapping.

Recently deported migrants (right) and volunteers (left). Photo: María Engracia Robles Robles.

The work requires a deep sense of humanity. We share only a few brief moments with each person, but they are often moments of true connection. Sometimes, when a person’s calls go unanswered, there is nothing we can do but try to lift their spirits — understandably, the inability to reach their families often leaves them disheartened or worse. But when they do get through, they share their happiness with us. Sometimes they even manage to meet up with their loved ones and we have the privilege of witnessing those moving reunions.

Cashing checks can also be a joyful experience. Our visitors tell us that, thanks to that service, they can get home safely, with no further delay, and be with their families again.

At the end of the day, every service we offer gives us the chance to have an impact on people’s lives, to restore their faith and trust in others. And our guests and their stories have a transformative impact on our lives. They help us become better people with every passing day. That’s why we always go back — because, beyond helping, we learn, every day, from the very people we aim to serve.

This report was written by Carolina Íñiguez, a No More Deaths volunteer who lives in Nogales. Translated from Spanish by Gerry Dunn.

Featured photo: Volunteer Lupita Aguirre works with an unnamed man who has recently been deported, helping him recover his money from the check ICE has given him, which is not cashable in Mexico. Photograph taken by María Engracia Robles Robles.