The Line Becomes A River
How does a line in the sand become a barrier that people will risk everything to cross?Francisco Cant. was a US Border Patrol agent from 2008 to 2012. He worked the desert along the Mexican border, at the crossroads of remote drug routes and smuggling corridors. The job was to track people across a vast terrain, through blistering days and frigid nights. He detained the exhausted, the parched, and hauled in the bodies from where they had fallen.But as a third-generation Mexican-American, Francisco found that the line he was duty-bound to defend began to dissolve. Haunted by nightmares even after leaving the patrol, he found himself drawn back by friendship and plunged into a final confrontation with a world he believed he had escaped.The Line Becomes a River is timely and electrifying. It brings to life both a unique landscape and the myriad people that stream through it. It takes us beyond one man's experience of these sprawling borderlands to reveal truths about life, wherever it is lived, on either side of any arbitrary line.
"This book tells the hard poetry of the desert heart. If you think you know about immigration and the border, you will see there is much to learn. And you will be moved by its unexpected music" -- Luis Alberto Urrea, author of THE DEVIL'S HIGHWAY "Cantu's story, and intelligent and humane perspective, should mortify anyone who ever thought building a wall might improve our lot. He advocates for clarity and compassion in place of xenophobia and uninformed rhetoric. His words are emotionally true and his literary sensibility uplifting" -- Barry Lopez, author of ARCTIC DREAMS and OF WOLVES AND MEN "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, author of REDEPLOYMENT
Francisco Cant. served as an agent for the United States Border Patrol from 2008 to 2012, working in the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. A former Fulbright fellow, he is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a 2017 Whiting Award. His writing and translations have been featured in The Best American Essays, Harper's, n+1, Orion, and Guernica, as well as on This American Life. He lives in Tucson.