ALTAR   




ALTAR


Located in the middle of the Sonoran Desert where almost no rain falls and the summertime temperatures reach 120 degrees, the small town of Altar is the main stop for migrants heading into Arizona.

At the height of the immigration flow, thousands of migrants passed through the town, many stopping to buy backpacks, food, water, and warm clothes for the desert nights.

Most migrants who go there stay for a few days waiting to meet a coyote in front of the church in the center of town. Dozens of businesses cater to the migrants in the meantime.

The Catholic Church in Altar provides free services and meals for those passing through Altar.

The priest and congregants walk the road leading to Sasabe once a year, some 8 miles through the desert sun, to remember those who have died in the crossing.

Within sight of the crosses they erected to mark the end of their pilgrimage, a cartel that no one asks about has erected a guardhouse and gate from which they charge each migrant to cross their land.