his month’s edition of the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) newsletter includes the article about the Aguilas del Desierto
and S Maria Louise Edwards’ involvement with the group.
The article is reprinted here:
Several months ago the Felician Franciscan Sisters in Pomona, CA connected with Aguilas del Desierto (Eagles of the Desert)
, a grass roots organization based in San Diego, that searches for migrants who have died crossing the harsh deserts of Arizona and California near the Mexican border. After reading a NY Times
photo essay, the sisters contacted the group on Facebook and asked if they could make the simple crosses that are left at the site where a body is found. With the help of friends, the sisters made 50 white crosses, several of which the Aguilas
carry into the desert on every search. Two sisters accompanied the group on the first of many searches in the California desert near Ocotillo.
In an interview, Ely Ortiz, founder of Aguilas del Desierto, said the wall is a form of discrimination because it says ‘this is ours, we are better than you, and you should stay over there.’ Ortiz began the group eight years ago when his cousin and brother were struggling to make the 12-day walk across the Arizona desert. When they too began to feel sick, Ortiz tried to get help, but to no avail. Four weeks later, he found their bodies where they had died.
The grassroots group has a vision of being a search and rescue operation, but for now, they raise money at flea markets and organize searches 1-2 times a month, when they have enough money. Our hearts must be moved with compassion for those who come to this country with nothing but huge hopes and dreams. Love above law is what Jesus would do.