Posted: Sep 25, 2013 6:14 PM by Nathan O'Neal
Updated: Sep 26, 2013 2:55 AM
ARIVACA, Ariz. - A bishop from Guatemala toured several sites in Southern Arizona to gain a better understanding of the conditions that illegal immigrants face when they cross the border into the U.S.
Bishop Armando Guerra visited the border fence in Sasabe as well as migrant trails near Arivaca.
The Pew Research Center found in a recent survey that more illegal immigrants are coming from places other than Mexico.
Bishop Guerra said that there are many factors that would force Guatemalans and other Central Americans to try and cross illegally in search of a better life, including a weak economy and strong threat of violence in the region. He also said his visit was a dose of reality in the dangers that migrants face.
"They have heard stories, they have seen movies, they have been told but the only way to believe it is by doing it yourself," Guerra said as he explored a popular migrant trail and found fresh evidence of border crossers, including carpet shoes that are used to hide footprints.
All this plays out in Rancher Jim Chilton's back yard -- an area that is no stranger to tragedy.
"We have had many deaths on our ranch and in fact, about three months ago, the Border Patrol found another corpse," Chilton told News 4 Tucson.
Chilton has lived on his ranch in Arivaca since 1987 and wants a solution that allows people to come into the country legally but only after the border is secured.
"We need walls... on my ranch, there's no walls... it's just a four-strand barbed wire fence," Chilton said.
However, while Bishop Guerra's heart breaks for the lives lost in the desert, he understands there's more to this.
"I know that they have the right to protect their borders but something has to be done," Guerra said.
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