Migrant Helps Stranded Boy on U.S. Border

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A Mexican migrant who tried to cross the border in 2007 and instead happened upon a stranded 9-year-old boy says he would still decide to help the boy.

“One and a thousand times more,” he says. “Without thinking about it or doubting it.”

According to CNN, Manuel Cordova was near the Arizona/Mexico border when he saw then-9-year-old Chris Buchleitner standing on the side of the road on Thanksgiving Day in 2007.

Chris had been traveling with his mom, and they were coming back from mountain biking to their campsite when the van careened off the road.

His mother was gasping for breath, possibly unconscious, unable to get out of the driver’s seat. 

Chris climbed the steep embankment back to the road. The cell phone did not work, and he couldn’t see anyone with his binoculars. He also brought the car’s mirror to try to signal someone.

But then he spotted Cordova. The man had been traveling for three days to flee to the U.S.

Many have opined that Cordova could have kept going and possibly built a future for himself in America, but instead, he stopped to help the boy.

He couldn’t free his mother, and she passed away in the night, but he was able to build a fire and stay with the boy until hunters found them in the morning. 

When rescuers arrive, Manuel decides to stay with the boy even though it means he will be arrested.

“‘Forgive us, but it’s my job,’” Manuel says a Border Patrol agent told him. “You are illegal here.”

Rescuers applauded his heroism, but he was returned to Mexico.

Later that December, he was honored for his efforts.

“The desert,” a Mexican diplomat said, “has a way of rearranging priorities.”

Meanwhile, Chris now works as a nurse. He says he is thankful for Manuel. 

Manuel returned to Mexico and never tried to cross the border again. 

Arizona congressman Raul Grijalva proposed a bill that would have allowed Manuel to live and work legally in the US, but the measure never made it out of congressional committee.

Photo Courtesy: © Unsplash/Clay Banks

Video Courtesy: CNN NEWS ALERTS via YouTube

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.

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