This Lifesaving Nonprofit Provides Aid, and Agua, Along the Border

Written by Sean Ryon

The migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border has resulted in an estimated 10,000 deaths since 1994. By setting out lifesaving jugs of water, one nonprofit is working to change that.

For the past 25 years, a humanitarian crisis has been quietly raging at the United States–Mexico border. Beginning in 1994, the U.S. implemented a policy of “prevention through deterrence” to stymie the flow of undocumented immigrants at traditional ports of entry. The thought was that by pushing migratory routes into harsher desert terrain, where temperatures can exceed 100 degrees, the number of people attempting to cross the border illegally would drop.

But the policy didn’t work as expected, and instead had an unintended consequence: mass death. In 2000, migrant deaths started to spike, jumping 34 percent from the year prior, according to U.S. Border Patrol. All told, an estimated 10,000 undocumented immigrants have died on the treacherous journey since 1994.

When news of these deaths started making headlines in the late 1990s, inventor and scientist John Hunter decided to take action. In 2000, he founded a nonprofit, called Water Station.

“I just get sick and tired of people dying out here and all this yapping going on, and no one’s doing jack,” Hunter says.

Based in Escondido, California, Water Station was one of the earliest organized humanitarian efforts along the border. Hunter and his wife, Laura, lead a team of volunteers in building “water stations,” or 50-gallon drums filled with jugs of water, which are strategically placed in the Imperial Valley Desert where deaths have been recorded. Now 18 years into its mission, Water Station maintains about 125 stations throughout the deserts of eastern California.

Watch the video above to see how the Hunters’ work is helping to save lives in the harsh deserts along the border.

This post originally appeared on NationSwell.

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Photo Credit: Jonathan McIntosh/Flickr

55 comments

Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Peggy B
Peggy B8 months ago

TYFS

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Janis K
Janis K9 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Kathy G
Kathy G9 months ago

Thank you

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Nicole H
Nicole Heindryckx9 months ago

@ Brian F / 2 : 2 billion ?? My God, did you have math at school ?? Are do you think that Mexicans are rats or rabbits and have nests of averagely 8/10 children ?? I think they just have one at the time, sometimes 2 and very rarely 3.
Now be honest : you problem is NOT that there would be 2 million inhabitants in the U.S., but that part of them would either be Muslims or Mexicans and other South Americans, or Afro American people, or mixed, or even some Europeans. Isn't that what HITLER wanted ??
I wish I could, just for one month, take away all these "criminal aliens" from your country. Although the unemployment is high I bet that when only WHITE AMERICANS are left in your TRUMPF country, industry would collapse. Not enough laborers !!!!!!!! All the dirty jobs, jobs with the lowest loans and with variable hours, jobs without certainty whether you will still work next week or not, utmost dangerous jobs, gruesome jobs, night work, etc... etc... would remain OPEN. White Americans only WANT the best, easiest and best paid jobs.... And don't say it's not true. In W. Europe it's the same. Complaining abt the North Africans, but when our people are offered a "low" classified job, it is either too far, not paid enough, bad for his back, too long hours, or split hours (3 am and 5 pm) week-end jobs, too dirty, too hot, too stinky, too hard, too ... too ... too ... Think by now you understand

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Nicole H
Nicole Heindryckx9 months ago

@ Brian F : - they should come in the right way ?? well, well. They first must be able to pass the border then ?? - Trump is right ?? My God, I wonder whether you have you ever been in a South American country. I did, though it was 27 years ago already. And it was not a country in war and distress, like Mexico. When I saw poverty and the slums on the tele, I thought : My God, how sad!! However, when you stand in the same "street" where they live and the conditions they live in, I just could gasp for a breath, and "sad" was a way too weak word. Because poverty is much worse when you see it with our own eyes. I have been there for 3 weeks.
One night I stayed with a family for dinner. I had a plate with baked potatoes, some mini sized pieces of chicken, some salad and bread. Bon Appétit !!
Another question : WHY DO YOU HAVE TO REPEAT YR SENTENCES 10 TIMES? Do you think we don't understand your racism ?? and yr adoration for TRUMP !!

NOT all Mexicans passing the border are CRIMINALS. It are just people, with good and bad ones. And certainly not Aliens. To my knowledge Mexico is still on planet Earth, and not Jupiter of Uranus or Mars.

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Nicole H
Nicole Heindryckx9 months ago

John Hunter should at least have a statue of honor !! A person who did not only talk about this problem, but also started an organization with volunteers and they are distributing drums of fresh water in various locations where bodies of dead, dehydrated Mexicans were found. It is bad enough that in a country political matters lead to a civil war, people loose everything and have to flee for their lives. I always say : I AM SO LUCKY I WAS BORN IN A W. EUROPEAN COUNTRY, where there have been no wars since 1940/1945. And that was before I was born. Regretfully, in many parts of the world, the situation is totally different and the greed of Presidents, or religious motives are enough to start a civil war, killing thens of thousands of people. All houses, churches, factories are bombed and no longer functional. Also schools and hospitals are destroyed totally. Result : huge amounts of undocumented people tried to escape their country and enter the U.S.A. They were not welcome. At least, NO LONGER. First, they were "tolerated" in the U.S. because they did the worst paid and worst jobs there were. Americans did not want to do this filthy bad work any longer, working sometimes 14 hours a day (fruit picking seasons, etc..) There were enough jobs then.

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Sue L
Sue L9 months ago

I think your real problem is that the majority of births are of Hispanic babies, rather than white ones. Am I right? White birthrates have been falling for years as education rates rise. More educated people tend to have fewer children. While whites may be the leaders, who the heck do you think is doing the real and back-breaking work of building and sustaining this country?!

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Brian F
Brian F9 months ago

Sue L In 1900 when the world had 2 billion people, they probably laughed at the thought of the world having 7 billion people like it does now, so the USA could have 2 billion people in the future if it doesn't enforce tough immigration laws.

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Brian F
Brian F9 months ago

Sue L Considering how rapidly the population of the USA has increased, as well as that of the world in the last 100 years, it is not laughable at all. In 1900 the world had 2 billion people, today 7 billion, and in 50 years 11 billion people. The population of the USA could increase to 2 billion people if open borders ar

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