The Line Becomes A River
"A must-read for anyone who thinks "build a wall" is the answer to anything." --Esquire
For Francisco Cant , 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, Cant 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. Cant 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, Cant discovers that the border has migrated with him, and now he must know the whole story. Searing and unforgettable, The Line Becomes a River goes behind the headlines, making urgent and personal the violence our border wreaks on both sides of the 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.