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In The Line Becomes a River, Francisco Cantu joins and then leaves the Border Patrol. His experience juxtaposes violence with the mundane. The border hides violence (in Mexico), reveals violence (in the United States due to enforcement) and causes violence (smugglers bringing in migrants, the drug war on our border is due to our appetite for drugs). Where you sit along the border determines how you view that violence. Everyday people looking for work are left dehydrated and many die along the way. The Border Patrol helps some (when they see them in bad shape) and forces others to cross through the desert using very unscrupulous smugglers/coyotes. While we may want to blame these people for crossing through the desert, as we see with Jose’s story this is increasingly their only good option for getting to America which could mean better opportunities or family reunification. The Border Patrol could be seen as a kind of Night’s Watch (to use a Game of Thrones example) guarding America from the South, but it could also be seen as a barbaric outfit that kicks hard-working people out of the United States. Cantu does a good job of humanizing the agents on the border while also describing the terrible toll the job takes on him mentally.

For this paper, I want you to write about four pages double-spaced making sure to cite the book The Line Becomes a River liberally.

Please reflect on the book, focusing on one or more of the following themes:

What we learn from the tragic story of Jose in Part III.

The many forms of violence that surround and perhaps define the Border.

Francisco Cantu’s experience in the Border Patrol and living along the border.

The effectiveness and fairness of border policy including who gets to stay in the US and who gets deported (the story of Jose is instructive here).

The relationship between Mexico and the United States and the relationship between Mexican people and American people.

Any new insights you have or ideas about changes that need to happen that got stirred up in you from reading the book.

You do not need to use any sources other than the book for the assignment.

The best papers will exhibit good knowledge of the book as well as good reflection including adding your own ideas, experiences and knowledge.

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