When Tim Holt spotted Maria Rabanales of El Salvador lying still in the Arizona desert this summer, he believed he had a God-given duty to save her.
He forced water through the woman's swollen jaws and poured ice down her shirt. Border Patrol agents later took Rabanales to a hospital, where she was revived.
Holt was praised by Humane Borders, sponsored by First Christian Church of Tucson, where he is a volunteer. But his actions that June day might soon be considered a crime, punishable by up to five years in prison or property forfeiture, if a Republican-sponsored bill that passed the House along partisan lines on Friday becomes law.
The bill -- endorsed by the Bush administration though it would have preferred a more comprehensive bill with a guest-worker program -- would make it a crime to assist undocumented immigrants who enter or attempt to enter the United States illegally. It has sent a chill through church organizations that help migrants in the belief that they are carrying out the will of God.
Maybe Bush got his heavenly telephone wires crossed with those coming from Hell?