Arizona Border Residents Help Migrants Without Breaking the Law

Arizona Border Residents Help Migrants Without Breaking the Law

"The worsening situation led some Arivaca residents to band together last year to form People Helping People, a group that provides aid to border crossers in the area.  Shortly after, the group unveiled a humanitarian aid office, which now sits on the main drag of this rural town of 600 residents that is surrounded by cattle ranches.  The center is believed to be one of the first of its kind along the border, said Leesa Jacobson, a founding member of the group and a librarian in town.  "We're hoping this will be an example for other communities," she said.  Volunteers keep the office running, answering questions or handing out prepackaged medical aid kits with socks, gauze and electrolyte supplements.  They also provide water bottles and prepackaged baggies with potato chips, juice boxes and canned meat intended for border crossers.  Residents are encouraged to stash the goods in their cars or homes in case they encounter a migrant in need.  The group also started a series of workshops aimed at educating residents of their right to provide humanitarian aid, bringing in attorneys and members of No More Deaths, an organization that provides direct humanitarian assistance to people lost, injured or ill while crossing through the Arizona desert.  Legal experts have answered numerous questions, such as: Can you give medical aid? Can you provide a border crosser with a map? Can you tell the traveler how far away he or she is from the nearest city?  Answers are yes, no and yes." - Cindy Carcamo, L.A. Times, Dec. 12, 2013.