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Desert Duty On the Line with the U.S. Border Patrol by Bill Broyles, Mark Haynes, Charles Bowden

Desert Duty On the Line with the U.S. Border Patrol

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Desert Duty On the Line with the U.S. Border Patrol by Bill Broyles, Mark Haynes, Charles Bowden

While politicians and pundits endlessly debate immigration policy, U.S. Border Patrol agents put their lives on the line to enforce immigration law. In a day's work, agents may catch a load of narcotics, apprehend groups of people entering the country illegally, and intercept a potential terrorist. Their days often include rescuing aliens from death by thirst or murder by border bandits, preventing neighborhood assaults and burglaries, and administering first aid to accident victims, and may involve delivering an untimely baby or helping stranded motorists. As Bill Broyles and Mark Haynes sum it up, Border Patrol is a hero job, one that too often goes unrecognized by the public. Desert Duty puts a human face on the Border Patrol. It features interviews with nineteen active-duty and retired agents who have worked at the Wellton, Arizona, station that watches over what is arguably the most perilous crossing along the border-a sparsely populated region of the Sonoran Desert with little water and summer temperatures that routinely top 110 DegreesF. The agents candidly discuss the rewards and frustrations of holding the line against illegal immigrants, smugglers, and other criminals-while often having to help the very people they are trying to thwart when they get into trouble in the desert. As one agent explains, The thrill is tracking 'em up before they die. It's a rough ol' way to go-run outta water in this desert.

About the Author

Bill Broyles is a research associate at the University of Arizona's Southwest Center. His previous books include Desert Duty: On the Line with the U.S. Border Patrol, Sunshot: Peril and Wonder in the Gran Desierto, and Our Sonoran Desert. MARK HAYNES joined the Border Patrol in 1978 and retired after twenty-five years of service in the Yuma area. He spent three years as Agent in Charge of the Tacna/Wellton Station and also served as Assistant Chief Patrol Agent of the Yuma Sector. Currently, he is an active member of the Arizona Historical Society. CHARLES BOWDEN is a long-time observer of social issues on the U.S.-Mexico border. His recent books include A Shadow in the City: Confessions of an Undercover Drug Warrior; Down by the River: Drugs, Money, Murder, and Family; Blues for Cannibals: Notes from Underground; Blood Orchid: An Unnatural History of America; Desierto: Memories of the Future; Inferno (with Michael Berman); Exodus/Exodo (with Julian Cardona); Trinity (also with Michael Berman); and Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing: Living in the Future.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st October 2010


Bill Broyles, Mark Haynes, Charles Bowden

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University of Texas Press


256 pages




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