Former Agent Says, ‘Border Patrol Does Good Work … But There’s Tension There’


February 6, 2018   4:57 AM ET

Heard on Morning Edition

Steve Inskeep

A view of the U.S.-Mexico border fence on the outskirts of Nogales, Mexico. Francisco Cantú says people always find ways up, over, under or around border fences. Brian Skoloff/AP

About 10 years ago, a recent college graduate named Francisco Cantú told his mother what seemed like good news: He got a job.

“I think she was terrified when I decided to join the Border Patrol,” he says. “And I think she was also confused about why I was doing this.”

Francisco Cantu

Cantú had studied the border in school, but he wanted to understand it more deeply. He attended the Border Patrol Academy and emerged equipped to patrol the Arizona wilderness.

He says, “The first time you’re thrown a set of keys, you’re often sent to one of these lookout positions. And I remember, like, standing outside of my truck and just looking out at the desert on all sides of me. And I’m someone who grew up in the desert, so it’s not unfamiliar to me, but I’ll never forget that feeling. I felt, you know, completely overwhelmed. It was like I was looking out across the ocean. I mean, that’s how vast it is.”

Cantú left the Border Patrol in 2012. His new memoir is called The Line Becomes a River.

Listen to the full interview below.

A full transcript of the interview can be found here.


Francisco Cantu

Politics for the People
Conference Call
The Line Becomes a River
With Author Francisco Cantú
Sunday, June 2nd at 7 pm EST.
Call in number: 605-313-5156
Passcode 767775#


Founder of the Politics for the People free educational series and book club for independent voters. Chair of the New York County Independence Party.

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