How a Holy Mountain Became a Migration Path to the U.S.
SUNLAND PARK, N.M. — Towering over the borderland, Mount Cristo Rey is nature’s barrier between Mexico and the United States. Each year for nearly a century it has drawn thousands of people who tread up a constellation of switchbacks representing the “Via Crucis,” or Way of the Cross, to pray beneath the 29-foot-tall limestone crucifix at the summit.
The holy mountain boasts a sweeping view of three states — Texas, New Mexico and Chihuahua in Mexico — and these days attracts not just the faithful, but the desperate, too: migrants from around the globe trying to enter the United States undetected, for here there is no border wall.
In the dark hours past midnight recently, several groups of men set out over the mountain’s jagged, gravel-coated slopes as the lights of El Paso twinkled in the distance. But as they descended, they were spotted by agents with the U.S. Border Patrol, who rounded up 16 of them along a roadside.
“The truth is, most people made it,” said Evandro, a 31-year-old Brazilian migrant, his eyes bloodshot from fatigue, who had watched many of his fellow travelers dash to freedom through a jumble of nearby mobile homes and ranches. “We were just unlucky.”
Read the full story in The New York Times here.