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A Border Story

By Thanksgiving, Manuel Jesus Cordova Soberanes had been walking for two days pretty much straight. He had already illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border--"I have two families, many mouths to feed," he told the AP yesterday--when about 50 miles outside of Tucson, in the empty desert, he saw a nine-year old boy accompanied only by his dog and holding the side mirror of a van. Turns out, the boy, Christopher Buztheitner, had just survived a terrible crash: His mom had lost control of her van and plummeted nearly 300 feet to her death. Cordova’s choice was simple--either continue on and try to make enough of a living in the U.S. to support his own family, or stay with the kid and almost assuredly be deported. "I am a father of four children," he said. "For that, I stayed. I never could have left him. Never." Cordova gave Christopher his sweater, lit a bonfire, did his best to console him, fed him. Fourteen hours later, the two were found, and authorities determined that Cordova probably saved the child’s life before sending him back to his home state of Sonora

Now, I’m not trying to score political points in the immigration debate by relating this story. I’m not talking about the inherent goodness of the immigrant heart or trying to advocate for amnesty. Just next time, when you hear O’Reilly or someone try to conflate an illegal’s killing someone in a drunken car crash with their carcinogenic presence in the U.S., remember what Cordova gave up to help this kid. Among illegal immigrants, there are criminals and there are heroes, scum and saints. Why? Because they’re human beings. Stuff evens out like that. It seems a simple point, but one we forget too easily when politics enters the equation.

So when Cordova, back home in Sonora, says of Christopher, “I hope he has a good life,” shouldn’t we wish the same for him?