November 8, 2021
The Progressive Magazine recently published an editorial by Miriam Davidson, author of Beloved Border: Humanity and Hope in a Contested Land, examining the latest statistics on border life and policy with a reminder that the problems can be resolved with “radical rethinking and deep, consistent attention.”
Davidson’s new book, published by the University of Arizona Press, shares the history of sanctuary and argues that this social movement and others that have originated on the border are vanguards of larger global movements against the mistreatment of migrant workers and refugees, police brutality, and other abuses of human and natural rights. Davidson gives concrete examples of positive ways in which border people are promoting local culture and cross-border solidarity through health care, commerce, food, art, and music. While death and suffering continue to occur, the book shows us how the U.S.-Mexico border could be, and in many ways already is, a model for peaceful coexistence worldwide.
Here’s an excerpt from the editorial:
In September, we all saw the pictures of mounted patrolmen maneuvering their horses and long reins in an attempt to corral Haitian migrants along the Texas border. These photos evoked the ugliness of 19th century “slave patrols” in the United States, as well as the enslavement of Haitians under French colonial rule in the 18th century.
Less well known is that, so far this year, at least 190 sets of human remains have been found in Arizona’s deserts. Forty-three were found in June, the highest one-month total since July 2010. More than half of the remains were discovered within one week of death—16 were located within one day. Migrants have also died while trying to cross the Rio Grande, including a nine-year-old girl in March.