PoliticsImmigration48 Hours on the Border


How and why do migrants risk their lives to come to the US?

While some claim to have escaped crime and violence in their home countries, the journey many make to the U.S. can be just as dangerous.
Posted at 1:59 PM, Mar 18, 2024

Every day, immigrants wait at Mexico's northern border to enter the United States. Many are seeking asylum and following a newly created legal process. Others cross illegally.

Many wait to make the crossing from places like Nogales, Mexico, for weeks or even months.

It was early morning in February as we walked across the Arizona-Mexico border into Nogales, Sonora. It seemed that with every step we took the landscape changed; the first thing we noticed was a long line of people waiting to get across into Nogales.

Many are regular everyday border crossers. But others have been here waiting days, and in some cases, weeks or months.

Arizona first responders face funding issues compounded by migrants
A border crossing is shown

Arizona first responders face funding issues compounded by migrants

Ongoing surges of migrants crossing the border have put strain on local police and fire departments who have continued to have funding issues.


A short drive away from the crossing, Scripps News Phoenix found a shelter where many asylum seekers were waiting for an appointment to present their cases in the hope of receiving asylum.

While some claim to have escaped crime and violence in their home countries, Scripps News Phoenix met Astrid. 

“¿Veniste sola [Did you come alone]?” We asked her in Spanish. 

She told us how she traveled from Venezuela with her son and daughter.

Scripps News Phoenix

Astrid and her family say they left their home last November and traveled more than 3,000 miles, across seven countries. With tears in her eyes, she recounted how they walked through man-made jungle trails, and how they used any means of transportation they could find or afford.

She told Scripps News about how often authorities and criminals alike would rob them and take the little money they had.

"Why?" We asked. 

Astrid says she wants a better life for her two children, referencing her 8-year-old son Fabian. While Fabian traveled with his mother through the same jungle trails, he seemed innocently unafraid, untouched by the dangers he and his family faced.

When asked if Fabian remembered when robbers took the money they had, he replied, “Si... En la selva [yes... in the jungle].”

After finishing the short exchange about their journey, Fabian innocently ran away to play soccer.

The family took a journey his mother was willing to take to provide Fabian and his sister with what she hopes would be a better life across the border in the United States.

This story was originally published by Patricio Espinoza at Scripps News Phoenix.