The Line Becomes A River

The Line Becomes A River

Dispatches From the Border

eBook - 2018
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""A beautiful, fiercely honest, and nevertheless deeply empathetic look at those who police the border and the migrants who risk - and lose - their lives crossing it. In a time of often ill-informed or downright deceitful political rhetoric, this book is an invaluable corrective."--Phil Klay For Francisco Cantú the border is in the blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. Haunted by the landscape of his youth, Cantú joins the Border Patrol. He and his partners are posted to remote regions crisscrossed by drug routes and smuggling corridors, where they learn to track other humans under blistering sun and through frigid nights. They haul in the dead and deliver to detention those they find alive. Cantú tries not to think where the stories go from there. Plagued by nightmares, he abandons the Patrol for civilian life. But when an immigrant friend travels to Mexico to visit his dying mother and does not return, Cantú discovers that the border has migrated with him, and now he must know the whole story. Searing and unforgettable, The Line Becomes a River makes urgent and personal the violence our border wreaks on both sides of the line"--
"A former Border Patrol agent's haunting experience of an unnatural divide and the lives caught on either side, struggling to cross or to defend it"--
Publisher: New York, New York : Riverhead Books, 2018
ISBN: 9780735217720
0735217726
9780735217713
Characteristics: 1 online resource

Opinion

From Library Staff

A former agent for the U.S. Border Patrol describes his upbringing as the son of a park ranger and grandson of a Mexican immigrant, who upon joining the Border Patrol encountered the violence and political rhetoric that overshadows life for both migrants and the police.

This is a shattering memoir of a third-generation Mexican American and his four years as border patrol agent in Arizona.


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lukasevansherman
Oct 09, 2018

"The border's in our blood. . ."
It's hard to right about border security and immigration with impartiality. If you're on one side, the border patrol (and ICE) are trigger happy good old boys living out wild west fantasies. If you're on the other, they are the last line of defense between wholesome Americans and the blood thirsty, drug-pushing criminals that are making their way to our border. It's become one of the most contentious political issues of our time. Francisco Cantu brings a unique perspective, as grew up in the Southwest, is Mexican-American, and was border patrol agent. The book, unfortunately, is a little uncertain about what it wants to be. It's a memoir in some ways, but also it's a little bit history, a little bit social commentary, and a little bit discourse on the very complex issues. I liked it and think it's a subject more than worthy of a literary approach, but I wanted something more, something deeper from it, which maybe was an unfair expectation.

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laphampeak
Mar 05, 2018

Cantu' writes from first person perspective in this captivating story of his experience as a Border Patrol Agent. It's not about US politics but rather the "commodity" of the alien. In the author's sweeping description of the border landscape he also intimately and graphically describes the landscape of one's soul - in Mann's view, me vs."the other". He examines his experience, "I had little inkling of what happened to those I arrested after I turned over ther paperwork and went home from my shift." His friendly relationship with Jose' and his arrest brought him face to face with the depersonalized system and the steadfast attempts with which many try to re-enter US for a better life.

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lilypad_1
Mar 02, 2018

To be a border agent is to deal with people caught up in crime and those trying to have a better life for their families- and both ending up dying in the desert. I think the history of the border that he lays out for us is valuable for showing us that we need to have a policy that is knowable, enforceable and humane. This book makes me feel once again the overwhelming gratitude that I was born in the USA and how much I take it for granted.
It is no wonder that border patrol agents get PTSD with the carnage, inhumane treatment, and tragedy that they see every day. I feel for everyone involved.
I recommend this book to everyone, unless you are there on the border and seeing all sides you cannot possibly be informed.

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