I have just finished reading “The Line Becomes A River” by Francisco Cantu and I appreciate his efforts to humanize the immigration issues at the U.S. – Mexico border. Too few people will read his book.
The sad part is that there are all these struggling men, women, and children who are being forgotten and disregarded by their fellow humans on both sides of the border. What ever happened to “love and help our neighbors?”
It also reminds me of all the struggling women, children, and men in the Middle East, and in Africa, and in other parts of the world who are being forgotten and disregarded by others. Doesn’t being human mean caring about others?
The other sad part is that much of this human suffering is being caused by the United States and the greed of our rulers: the Wall Street Empire. Our troops were in Central America over 100 years ago making the region safe for multinational corporations, and our proxies have been there ever since destabilizing the region, as well as the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and South America.
The only way to change this course of history is through a voters revolution guided by our hearts, as Jimi Hendrix said “some day the power of love will overcome the love of power!” It better be soon!
Peter White is a New Hampshire native and a self-described democracy activist.
Thanks to Francisco Cantu’s book, “The Line Becomes a River”, we now know the truth about what’s going on with our broken and corrupt immigration system. Whole families are being destroyed by separation and detention. Innocent and hardworking migrants are being labeled criminals only because they desire and deserve a better life in the United States of America. These good people are fleeing horrific and violent situations in their countries of origin. Because the United States has cruelly turned their backs on these people they are left to the mercy of smugglers and drug dealers who will surely extort them for money and more money. Once the smugglers and drug dealers get what they want these migrants often disappear and come up dead. We are supposed to be a country with higher standards than what we are showing neighbors at the southern border.
Lowell Ward is an activist with the Massachusetts Coalition of Independent Voters.
For me, the title describes what we have done with our southern border. What was once a mere administrative boundary has become a barrier that poses serious risk to migrants. Many Americans believe, based on the number of people who have made it across, that the river needs to be wider. Cantú’s story makes it clear that this will only lead to more suffering and death.
The War on Drugs, like the War on Terror, the War on Poverty, and every other U.S. war in my lifetime, has become a self-fulfilling prophecy; the more we invest in it, the more it grows. Young patriots are enlisted to fight battles they learn (the hard way) are not meant to be won. A few of them, like Cantú, have the courage to speak truth to power – to tell us what it’s like to actually fight the war:
I have nightmares, visions of … men lost and wandering without food and water, dying slowly as they look for some road, some village, some way out. In my dreams I seek them out, searching in vain until finally I discover their bodies lying facedown on the ground before me, dead and stinking on the desert floor, human waypoints in a vast and smoldering expanse.”
The book is full of passages like this that illustrate not just what migrants endure but what we ask of our border patrol. Agents encounter plenty of “bad hombres,” but fugitives make up a small minority of their apprehensions. Mostly, they pursue and arrest people they cannot help but pity. None of them have much to lose.
It’s not without humor. I especially enjoyed the ball-busting exchanges between the agents. Some of it is typical locker room talk that young men engage in to bond with one another. But I can’t help thinking it’s also an attempt to lighten a heavy emotional load. After leaving the field to do intelligence work, Cantú is teased by his colleagues because they are jealous that he managed to escape. They live better than the migrants they arrest every day, but they can relate to the fear and desperation.
Steve Richardson is a founding member of the Virginia Independent Voters Association and serves on IndependentVoting.org’s national Election Reform Committee. Steve is also a member of the Eyes on 2020 National Cabinet.