The expulsion of Title 42 has brought attention to the Southern Arizona border. Some ports of entry are parts of small towns, and others in isolated areas. In Sasabe, Arizona, theres already very few areas where people can get gas, food, or water. On the other side of the border, its a similar situation, but even fewer resources.
A little over two years ago, two women saw how this could be a problem for migrants who are deported back to Sonora. Two years ago, Dora Rodriguez and Gail Kocourek founded Casa de la Esperanza.
We discovered a humanitarian crisis going on, said Gail Kocourek. The two have and still continue to play major roles in several organizations, including Humane Borders and the Tucson Samaritans, that provide humanitarian aid for migrants.
Casa de la Esperanza serves as a resource to the Sasabe, Sonora community, as well as for migrants who have just been turned away by border patrol. Now that Title 42 has been lifted, the two are ready for whatever is to come at their center.
Were preparing with basic humanitarian needs like water, food, enough water for a shower, because most of these people have been in the desert for days, said Dora Rodriguez.
They took a trip to their center Friday afternoon, less than a day after Title 42 had been lifted. They said the area was quiet, but they expect traffic to increase in the coming weeks. Rodriguez compared Casa de la Esperanza to Casa Alitas, the shelter for asylum seekers.
Its a happy place because they are going to be reunited with their family, she said. But when looking at Casa de la Esperanza, it has a different feel. Casa de la Esperanza sees the pain.
The women also place water and food along the border twice a week as humanitarian aid in an effort to prevent deaths. Yesterday, Gail Kocourek spent the day at the border preparing for a possible surge from Title 42s expulsion. She was told she wasnt allowed to be there, so they brought attorney Margo Cowan with them on their trip Friday afternoon.
Cowan said what theyre doing is not illegal. They put out food, they put out water, when people are lost, they conduct searches. They attempt to work hand in hand with the government. When they find people they call Border Patrol, she said.