Midnight on the Line: The Secret Life of the U.S.-Mexico Border

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9780312366711: Midnight on the Line: The Secret Life of the U.S.-Mexico Border

A probing, ground-level investigation of illegal immigration and the people on both sides of the battle to secure the U.S.–Mexico border

With illegal immigration burning as a contentious issue in American politics, Reuters reporter Tim Gaynor went into the underbelly of the border and to the heart of illegal immigration: along the 45-mile trek down the illegal alien "superhighway." Through scorpion-strewn trails with Mexican migrants and drug smugglers, he met up with a legendary group of Native American trackers called the Shadow Wolves, and traveled through the extensive network of tunnels, including the "Great Tunnel" from Tijuana to Otay Mesa, California. Along the way, Gaynor also meets Minutemen and exposes corruption among the Border Patrol agents who exchange sex or money for helping smugglers.
The issue of illegal immigration has a complexity beyond any of the political rhetoric. Combining top-notch investigative journalism with a narrative style that delves into the human condition, Gaynor reveals the day-to-day realities on both sides of "the line."



"Sinopsis" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

About the Author:

TIM GAYNOR is a Reuters reporter who has been on the ground in more than two dozen towns and cities along the U.S.-Mexico border from San Diego to the Gulf Coast. He works closely with the FBI, DEA, ICE, Border Patrol, Customs & Border Protection, and other agencies. Gaynor was nominated for Reuters Reporter of the Year in 2007 for his immigration coverage. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

The Gates of Hell

Amado Coello is sixty-two year sold, a salt-and-pepper-haired retiree with a gentle, grandfatherly manner that gives him the air of a fairy-tale cobbler. He is in fact a retired paramedic, carrying out volunteer duty at a Mexican Red Cross station set up in a tractor trailer a few miles short of the Arizona border in Mexico.

The makeshift clinic is up a few wooden steps, and it`s free. It`s open twenty-four hours a day, year round, and attends to a constant river of people who draw up into the tawdry high desert town of Altar on buses in their tens of thousands each month.

The arrivals disgorged onto the sun-baked sidewalk amid a hiss of airbrakes are either prospective migrants seeking to trek across the vast desert to the United States illegally, or they are the failures-those broken by the desert`s remorseless wheel and tossed back out by the U.S. Border Patrol.

Sitting at a desk in the cool interior of the truck, Coello is flanked by maps, one showing northwest Mexico in relief, the lay of the land-from the azure waters of the Sea of Cortez to the tall peaks of the Sierra Madre towering a thumb`s width above them. The other is a simple outline of Mexico, picking out more than two dozen states in a felt-tipped marker, noting the homes of the migrants who oft en come to the clinic hobbling on crutches after a bruising encounter with the blowtorch wastelands to the north.

"Welcome to the gates of hell. It`s the gate to the next dimension." That`s Coello, revealing a metaphysical bent as he talks about Altar in Spanish, the deeply expressive language of magical realism. "They don`t know what awaits them out there! It could be that it goes well, that they get a good job, or that they stay out there... in the desert," he says, warming to his cataclysmic theme. "We get everyone. Entire families, pregnant women in the sixth or eighth month of their term, even older people in their sixties. The first thing we do is we try and convince them not to go, tell them that it is quite risky. We try and find ways to warn them that their families could be left to fend for themselves, but they justify the journey by saying they need an income, that they are going anyway."

The little clinic parked up on the broken asphalt is a triage station for one of the toughest foot journeys on earth. Coello has a small pharmacy with bottles of pills to treat high blood pressure for some of the older people intent on making the walk, together withelectrolyte solutions to help border crossers off set dehydration. Then there are the treatments for those who have been sent back by the Border Patrol with injuries from their trek.

Casting an eye over the tight-stacked shelves, I see wound dressings, anti-inflammatory pills, painkillers, and even eye drops. He has antiparasitic medication for people sick to the stomach after drinking at cattle troughs along the way, and antibiotics to treat cuts ripped by cactus spines and deep sores from rotten blisters.

"The worst are their feet, full of blisters. Their toes are beaten to a pulp with the nails hanging off them. They stumble against rocks in the dark, and that usually hurts the big toe," he says, blithely rattling off a litany of hurts in his lilting, singsong voice.

It is all of more than just academic interest for me. I am in his clinic with a Mexican colleague and friend of mine, Tomás Bravo, for a checkup. We are both reporters: I am part of a team that writes about immigration and the border, and he takes the pictures.

We are planning to follow in the footsteps of countless dirt-poor illegal immigrants from across Mexico and much of Latin America who make this clandestine journey north in search of a better life. It`s a trip that I have imagined myself making countless times.

I want not only to see, at first hand, what it`s like to break in to the United States, I also want to live that journey as much as I can, as the first part of this wide-ranging look at what smugglers do on the most contentious border on earth, and what the federal police agencies on the other side do to block them. I am doing it this way because I don`t think what either does has been adequately reported fi sthand, and certainly it hasn`t ever been pulled together in a single book.

Altar struck me as a good place to start. It is a couple of hours` drive short of the Arizona border in Sonora. The sprawl of adobe stores, taco stands, and fl op house hotels lies on illegal immigration`s superhighway. It is a kind of desert training post supplying and equipping tens of thousands of border crossers headed northeach year, most with the aid of professional smugglers, in an illicit trade worth billions of dollars annually.

We are joining the band of hundreds of migrants who will be setting out tomorrow to walk the Sonora Desert to the United States. From Altar, we will take a van, or drive if we have to, over the desert to the frontier town of El Sásabe, from there walking forty-five miles up through the empty wilds of the Altar Valley to the hamlet of Three Points, Arizona, where many border crossers are picked up and driven on to Tucson and Phoenix.

It is late July, the most fatal month of the year. It is a time when searing temperatures reach up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade-only, of course, there is little real shade-and when torrential monsoon cloudbursts fill lonely desert washes with bucking torrents of water in moments. It is Armageddon scribbled across the calendar, the month when two years earlier, the Border Patrol pulled two corpses a day out of the deserts south of Tucson.

I swing my legs up onto the black vinyl gurney for my free checkup. Coello slips on the stethoscope, gazes absently into the middle distance, and listens to my heart. He checks my breathing and then finally wraps an inflatable belt around my arm to take my blood pressure. It is a little bit elevated, 130 over 98, perhaps driven up by my anxiety over the journey that lies ahead, or simply on account of his white coat. Doctors always make me nervous.

Next, Tomás lift s himself onto the gurney. From Mexico City, he is of middling height, with a head of corkscrew curls and a knockout smile, and he somehow quietly glows with well-being. The only concern Coello has is for his slightly accelerated heart rate. He puts it down to the heat, which is in the low hundreds, and cautions Tomás that he needs to start taking frequent sips of water as he is already getting dehydrated. Otherwise he is good to go.

Since Coello likely has more practical experience of what the trail can do to you than most in northern Mexico, I ask him if he has any more advice for us to keep us in one piece on the walk across the rough sun-blasted wilderness that could take us several days-if, that is, we succeed.

He thinks for a moment, then tells us to take several pairs of socks and change them whenever they get damp, as it is the rubbing of sweaty feet on damp socks that accelerates blisters. "The best thing would be to walk in open-toed sandals, but then there are the scorpions and snakes, and then, if you stub your toes... ," he says, trailing off , distracted by several new arrivals who have hobbled painfully up the steps into the clinic.

Elmer López is framed by the doorway. He wears a straw hat and a royal blue collared shirt that is encrusted with concentric rings of dried sweat radiating out from his armpits. A peasant farmer from a town on Mexico`s border with Guatemala, he is accompanied by his wife and two weary young daughters in matching pink pants that look like pajamas.

The girls flank their mother, their arms draped around her waist, the eldest rubbing a puff y red eye, inflamed by grit from the trail. She is almost asleep on her feet.

Most families hire a guide, or coyote, to lead them

"Sobre este título" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

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Descripción Thomas Dunne Books, United States, 2009. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A probing, ground-level investigation of illegal immigration and the people on both sides of the battle to secure the U.S.-Mexico border With illegal immigration burning as a contentious issue in American politics, Reuters reporter Tim Gaynor went into the underbelly of the border and to the heart of illegal immigration: along the 45-mile trek down the illegal alien superhighway. Through scorpion-strewn trails with Mexican migrants and drug smugglers, he met up with a legendary group of Native American trackers called the Shadow Wolves, and traveled through the extensive network of tunnels, including the Great Tunnel from Tijuana to Otay Mesa, California. Along the way, Gaynor also meets Minutemen and exposes corruption among the Border Patrol agents who exchange sex or money for helping smugglers. The issue of illegal immigration has a complexity beyond any of the political rhetoric. Combining top-notch investigative journalism with a narrative style that delves into the human condition, Gaynor reveals the day-to-day realities on both sides of the line. Nº de ref. de la librería FLT9780312366711

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Descripción Thomas Dunne Books, United States, 2009. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A probing, ground-level investigation of illegal immigration and the people on both sides of the battle to secure the U.S.-Mexico border With illegal immigration burning as a contentious issue in American politics, Reuters reporter Tim Gaynor went into the underbelly of the border and to the heart of illegal immigration: along the 45-mile trek down the illegal alien superhighway. Through scorpion-strewn trails with Mexican migrants and drug smugglers, he met up with a legendary group of Native American trackers called the Shadow Wolves, and traveled through the extensive network of tunnels, including the Great Tunnel from Tijuana to Otay Mesa, California. Along the way, Gaynor also meets Minutemen and exposes corruption among the Border Patrol agents who exchange sex or money for helping smugglers. The issue of illegal immigration has a complexity beyond any of the political rhetoric. Combining top-notch investigative journalism with a narrative style that delves into the human condition, Gaynor reveals the day-to-day realities on both sides of the line. Nº de ref. de la librería FLT9780312366711

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