|Thick with cactus|
|Organ pipe cactus|
The world of illegal immigration is here. In Gila Bend, AZ, where we’ve been for about a week now.
Just south of Gila Bend is Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, which shares a border with Mexico.
I’m inside the visitor’s center and find signs encouraging me to protect myself against undocumented people trying to escape poverty (or maybe dealing drugs) by crossing the border illegally. Keep my bike locked up. Don’t engage. Report.
And that’s what two hikers now inside the visitor’s center are doing. They are reporting a “sighting,” a collection of evidence they believe “is unusual.” They behave very cloak-'n-dagger. They never blurt: "There is an illegal alien in our midst.”
Instead they mention, casually, almost covertly, stumbling upon a cave with disturbed underbrush inside. A stash of water bottles. The aroma of recently a recently cooked meal. With chilies. A tumbling of rocks, as if something slid down the hill.
The park ranger makes serious note of the report and marks the cave location on a map. She thanks the visitors who leave.
|No. 1 Mexican restaurant in Gila Bend, AZ|
If they made it this far through the desert alive, they must still contend with an attentive border patrol and, apparently, tourists.