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How This Woman Is Saving Migrant Lives Along the Border

Maria Ochoa is providing a lifeline for desperate people in the desert. For 17 years, the co-founder of Tucson Samaritans and other members of the group have been providing food, water and medical supplies to migrants traversing southern Arizona. It’s harsh, hot terrain. People can only carry so much water. Finding a bottle left on a trail by Ochoa can mean the difference between life and death for a migrant from Central or South America. Ochoa understands their motivation to escape hunger, poverty and violence. The 71-year-old is first generation Mexican-American. Ochoa’s mother, now a United States citizen, was just 12 when she crossed the border from Mexico. Ochoa and the Tucson Samaritans are bridging the divide. They don’t rank the value of human beings based on where they come from. “We see each other as brothers and sisters. There’s no separation of what color, what race, what nationality,” she says. “We’re all humans in this world.”

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