Francisco Cantú Pours Conflicted Feelings on Border Patrol Job Into Memoir

Timely and thoughtful, Francisco Cantú's memoir, The Line Becomes a River, puts a human face on the thousands of immigrants who cross the border illegally each month, and reveals the conflicting emotions of the Border Patrol agents who must try to stop them. Early in the memoir Cantú explains how he had studied immigration policy in college but wanted firsthand experience to understand what the border means to the people who live near it, cross it and defend it. That led him to become a Border Patrol agent for four years, most of which he appears to have spent being miserable. His mother serves as a Greek chorus of sorts, acting as a moral presence. She raised Cantú while being a ranger at Guadalupe Mountains National Park in West Texas and knows the complexity of his job. After hearing about Border Patrol agents chasing undocumented immigrants and knowingly allowing them to die in the desert, she confronts him: "Is it true? she asked. . . . I glared back at her. What do you want me to say? I snapped. That agents are purposefully driving people to their deaths? Field agents don't write border policy. We just show up and patrol where we're assigned. My mother shook her head as if my words were those of an apologist or a fanatic."   Continue reading...

Copyright The Dallas Morning News
Contact Us