For Marisol Flores-Aguirre making the 75-mile walk through the Sonoran Desert is a way of allowing migrants who perished while trying to cross the border to finish the journey they began.
"For me, it's almost like carrying someone the rest of that journey, wondering what it was like for them to walk," said the organizer and third-year participant.
Her 7-year-old daughter, Itzel Cozanayotl, will also be joining her this year.
On Monday, more than 60 people from across the country and different parts of the world will start their own seven-day journey out of Sasabe, Sonora - a popular route for people crossing the border without permission.
The group walks in single file holding a wooden cross representing one of the more than 6,000 border crossers who have died while trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border since the 1990s.
Participants walk between 10 and 12 miles each day, with the exception of Wednesday, when they have to rise at 3 a.m. for a 16-mile trek, Flores-Aguirre said. Sponsoring organizations provide the meals and support vehicles that follow them along the way.
The goal of the walk is to bring attention to border deaths, organizers said.
"Ultimately, all organizers hope there would no longer be a need for the walk," said Flores-Aguirre, who works with the Human Rights Coalition and Calpolli Teoxicalli, two of more than a dozen sponsoring organizations.
People attempting to cross illegally into the United States today are eight times more likely to die in the attempt than about a decade ago, the National Foundation for American Policy reported in March.
The foundation is a nonpartisan research organization.
People are crossing through more dangerous places as a result of the buildup of border enforcement, which has led to an increase in migrant deaths, experts have said.
The trek will come to an end next Sunday at Kennedy Park in Tucson for a closing ceremony.
"It's just a small offering to be able to understand a really complex problem that boils down to the value of life," said Flores-Aguirre.
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"Ultimately, all organizers hope there would no longer be a need for the walk."
who plans to join the trek
• A 75-mile walk from Sasabe to Tucson to call attention to the deaths in the desert.
• In May 2004, the first group of walkers initiated The Migrant Trail: We Walk for Life, and it has continued to grow since.
• The youngest person to complete the entire walk was 13, the oldest, 72.
• A closing ceremony will take place at 11:30 a.m. June 2, at Kennedy Park, Ramada No. 3.
Contact reporter Perla Trevizo at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 573-4213. On Twitter: @Perla_Trevizo