Oct 25 • 35M

I Was an Asylum Seeker. Now I Help Others: A Podcast with Dora Rodriguez

"My story was tragic and painful. It took me years to open up. But I have a story that I hope can make some change, and let people know who we migrants really are."

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Appears in this episode

Melissa del Bosque
The Border Chronicle podcast is hosted by Melissa del Bosque and Todd Miller. Based in Tucson, Arizona, longtime journalists Melissa and Todd speak with fascinating fronterizos, community leaders, activists, artists and more at the U.S.-Mexico border.
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Dora Rodriguez (left) with Gail Kocourek in front of Casa de la Esperanza in Sásabe, Sonora. The two women opened the migrant resource center in 2021. (Photo credit: Melissa del Bosque)

Dora Rodriguez was once an asylum seeker. She escaped the death squads in El Salvador in the 1980s during the U.S.-backed civil war. On her journey to the United States, her group was abandoned in the Sonoran Desert south of Tucson, Arizona. Thirteen people traveling with her died, and Rodriguez barely survived.

Since then, she’s devoted her life to social work and to helping migrants in the Sonoran Desert where she nearly perished. In this podcast, Rodriguez talks about the migrant resource center called Casa de la Esperanza which she helped open last year in the Mexican border community of Sásabe, Sonora. She talks about her own history, her nonprofit Salvavision, and the current situation at the border with Title 42 and other policies endangering asylum seekers’ lives. And she talks about how humanitarian work, which can take a physical and emotional toll, sustains her year after year. “There are some days that are painful,” she said. “There are tears. What keeps me going is to see the people behind me doing this work, and I know I’m not alone.”

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