Arizona is an "extreme" state. A person can die fromdehydration and freeze to death the same day.
Daniel Hernandez's feet went numb as he walkedthrough the pre-dawn Arizona desert. He feltcracks in his lips from the lack of water and felthe would die any moment.
He had left his tiny village in the Mexican stateof Veracruz days before, hoping for a betterfuture for his family. Instead, he had barelycrossed the invisible border in the midst of thedesert when several federal agents intercepted thegroup he was in.
"The walking wasn't the hardest part -- eventhough I was afraid. It was the treatment we gotin jail," he said. "They locked us in. They yelledat us. They took ourfingerprints and photographs. Now I'm marked. Theytold me if it happened again they would put me inprison for five years."
Meanwhile, as Daniel made his way back to hishomeland, Republican politicians look for ways toblock the passage of migrants by demanding theextension of the border wall, at a cost of $3million a mile.
The temperatures begin to heat up in mid-winter inArizona, even before Super Tuesday, when 10 stateshold primary elections. Although Mitt Romney isthe favorite in the polls at the moment, themoderate Hispanic GOP group "Somos Republicanos"says there could be an upset.
One of the group's members, Elias Bermudez, leftPhoenix for Tucson a couple of years ago, fleeingthe persecution he felt he was subjected to byMaricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Bermudez insists that none of the four Republicancandidates present solutions to the immigrationproblem, forcing moderate Republicans like himselfto vote for President Barack Obama.
"If Mitt Romney is the Republican candidate, therewill be no hope of normalizing the situation forthe more than 11 million undocumented immigrantsthrough immigration reform," he said. "The problemis that the ultra-conservative Republicans confusepatriotism with extremism."
Arizona is considered the heart of anti-immigrantpolitics, which has brought about laws such as thecontroversial S.B. 1070, which criminalizes anyonewho can't present residency or citizenship papers.It's estimated that close to 400,000 people havebeen affected by the measure.
And while some complain that there aren't moresevere laws and insist that the lack of legalaction is a failure of national security, othersopen their hearts to offer aid. In the border cityof Nogales, Terra witnessed the humanitarianefforts of people working to protect theimmigrants.
Bob Feinman offers food to immigrants through theorganization Humane Borders. Feinman hasvolunteered with the group for more than 10 years.He insists he does it because he wants to be partof the solution, rather than part of the problem.He said he knows the suffering of the "countrymen"and he doesn't want them to die of hunger, cold orthirst.
"My grandparents were Jewish and they were pursuedlike flies," he said. "I don't want the same tohappen with the immigrants, who I respect becausethey are people looking for better opportunities,just like me."
Humane Borders has placed 35 water deposits in theArizona desert, and insists that it has thesupport of the federal government. "Some of thewater tanks are on private ranches," Feinman said."We have the permission of the owners, who alsowant to save lives. Not all ranchers are bad."
The Obama administration has broken deportationrecords, sending nearly 400,000 immigrants back totheir native country in the last year alone.
Faced with the threats of prison from U.S.officials, immigrants like Daniel Hernandez decidenot to repeat the effort.
After a while waiting, he got the assistance of aMexican organization that offered to pay half thecost of a truck ride to return the immigrants totheir homeland.
"I didn't think it would be so hard to cross," hesaid. "Nobody told me how hard it was. I justwanted to work. Now I don't know what I'll do whenI return. Only God can say."