Brothers in search of immigrants in the desert


The brothers Alejandro and César Ortigoza had volunteered in search groups for lost migrants crossing the border, but at the end of the summer of 2015, the calls from relatives looking for their loved ones multiplied and they decided to go out on their own.

“In a week we received about ten calls from families looking for their lost loved ones when crossing the border and when we were preparing to go in search, in the following days we received perhaps another ten requests”, then they decided to form their own search group and rescue.

Most of the search requests came from families in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. They were looking for loved ones with whom they had been in contact until they crossed into the United States, and after that, communication was lost.

Beginnings and barriers

In October 2015, the brothers from San Andrés Poyuca, in the southern Mexican state of Puebla, decided to form a group called ‘Armadillos’.

They started with their own income. Cesar works in building maintenance and Alejandro in construction. They use their own income to buy equipment and, until recently, to rent vehicles so they can go in search of people they do not know but long to find still alive in the border desert.

Most of the time they have found only bodies of the people they were looking for.

Alejandro says that when this happens, they call the border patrol and their agents are in charge of informing the coroner of the county in question.

“We don’t touch anything, we just stay in the area and tell the coroner where it is. They take care of the rest, ”he explained.


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