This book tells the story of a group of 26 illegal migrants from Veracruz, Mexico, that attempted to cross the desert into Arizona in May 2001. They got lost in the desert, where 14 died of exposure and only 12 made it through alive. They thought it would be one day of walking and were unprepared for the heat. After they got lost in the desert, they soon ran out of water and started dying. By the time they were discovered by Border Patrol, several had already died. A rescue operation ensues, and afterwards, they install water stations and rescue towers so the same thing doesn’t happen again.
The border is a very complex topic: on one side, the Border Patrol look for walkers and try to keep them out; on the other side, there’s a whole criminal organization devoted to trafficking people across the border. The walkers were poor and mostly indigenous people from rural areas of Mexico, taking out loans of over $1000 to make the journey. They are looking for economic opportunity, money to send back to their families, a better life. As long as there’s demand, criminal organizations will exist to fill it; the underlying problem is political, that workers are paid so much more across the border for doing the same job, that naturally Mexicans will want to enter illegally.