Headlines. Slogans. Politicized rhetoric. Campaign promises. Facebook posts. This is where I was getting all of my information on the state of our southern border. As the issue got hotter and more divisive, it was becoming harder to empathize with people directly involved in the situation. Border residents, immigrants documented and undocumented, the customs and border patrol agents tasked with enforcing policy – they all began to fall into predictable faceless groups with predictable actions and motivations. Politicians trying to leverage events for political gain didn’t help.
Reading this book helped. The author, Francisco Cantú, was raised on the border and served for a time as a border patrol agent. He presents memories, experiences, research on the topic and dreams so visceral that I feel I’ve had the nightmares myself. By the end of the book the border is not a generic location populated by stereotypes. Cantú has the connections and the skills as an author to communicate them.
It doesn’t seem like border is going to fade as an issue any time soon. This book will remain useful and relevant.