Women honored for humanitarian work in Southern AZ borderlands - Tucson News Now

Women honored for humanitarian work in Southern AZ borderlands

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As immigration reform stalls in Washington, two women in the borderlands of Southern Arizona and Mexico are doing what they can to help struggling migrants.

Tucson-based non-profit group, BorderLinks, honored the women in an award ceremony at the Good Shepherd United Church of Christ in Sahuarita Sunday evening.

Linda Knox and Maria del Carmen Cuevas Cisneros were recognized for their work along the border. Knox, provides transitional housing for families in need in Douglas, Arizona, and Cisneros has opened the doors of her home in the Sonora side of Nogales to struggling migrants.

"They want to make sure that people who are not living in the border realize what is happening there. What is the reality along the borders and the needs that we have?" said BorderLinks Executive Director Fernanda Morillon.

Every year, BorderLinks honors "women on the border," whom they say are the backbone of humanitarian efforts to help migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border. Morillon said many women sacrifice their time and resources to shelter countless migrants.

"The ones who touch our heart are people who aid migrants directly and even open their own homes and host them in their house when they need to," Morillon added.

Cisneros provides shelter for migrants who were recently deported from the U.S. and helps them get back in track with their lives.

"That's what inspires me; their journey. Their painful journey through the desert of Arizona and their way back home inspires me too," Cisneros said in translation.

Knox opened Shalom House in Douglas to serve as transitional housing for families in need. She and her husband moved near the border at Douglas Agua Prieta to look for ways to address human rights issues there.

"We're always hearing about the border is not a safe place and it's really not safe for these migrants because they're dying in the desert. If they were coming safely through the ports of entry, in order to better their economic condition, then the border control can spend time chasing the bad guys," Knox said.

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