SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Late Friday, the Journey for Justice, made up primarily of migrant advocates from across the country, reached its finish line: the Pacific Ocean.
The group had been on the road since early December, driving the entire length of the southern border.
They started in Boca Chica, Texas on the Gulf of Mexico. Along the 2,200 miles traveled, they visited sites and locations associated with immigration and immigrants as well as other points of interest.
“We saw so many wonderful things,” said Karla Barber with Witness at the Border, one of the groups involved in the Journey for Justice.
Barber said they were also saddened by many things they experienced.
“We saw everything, like a border created by a river in Texas that’s heavily militarized by Border Patrol and the governor of Texas,” said Barber. “We saw a border in New Mexico and Arizona that is a vast desert where people still make the journey and risk their lives.”
According to Barber, they also met with several organizations that support migrants and provide humanitarian aid on both sides of the border.
“We saw many making commitments to humanity, to being kind and welcoming.”
For Barber and the others, one of the most difficult days on the journey occurred as their trek was winding down in southwest Arizona.
“We saw hundreds of people in Yuma — and there’s only a small group of people in Yuma willing to come out and help — but where are the rest? Where are the churches in Yuma?”
At some places, Barber and the others rolled up their sleeves and helped migrants in need.
Near Somerton, Arizona, they helped distribute food, blankets and water to hundreds of migrants who were standing — in some cases, huddled around campfires — waiting to get picked up by Border Patrol in near-freezing temperatures.
Later that morning, after the sun came out, through the border barrier, they handed bottles of water to migrants standing on the other side of the barrier.
By the end of the journey, some of the participants who were seniors were spent physically and emotionally.
At one stop in Uvalde, Texas, a few in the caravan shed some tears when they visited Robb Elementary, where 19 students and two teachers were killed by a lone gunman back in May.
“I’m looking forward to being home and having the time to really absorb what I’ve seen,” said Barber.
In Barber’s case, home is Dallas, Texas.
For others, it’s places such as Minnesota, Iowa and New Mexico.