border patrol

Early in The Line Becomes a River, Francisco Cantú tells his mother his reasons for joining the Border Patrol. "Maybe it's the desert, maybe it's the closeness of life and death, maybe it's the tension between the two cultures we carry inside us. Whatever it is, I'll never understand it unless I'm close to it." It's surreal dialogue, the sort of thing that feels like a promise and only later turns out to be an omen.

As lawmakers in Washington consider a path forward on immigration policy, the debate is playing out along desolate stretches of the southwestern border where at least 7,209 people have died while crossing illegally over the past 20 years.

Last week we heard from a volunteer with the group No More Deaths, which provides water and supplies to people making the dangerous — and illegal — desert crossing into the U.S. along the border with Mexico. No More Deaths recently released a report claiming border patrol agents routinely sabotage what the volunteers call humanitarian efforts.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents need to have "reasonable suspicion" to carry out "advanced" searches on electronic devices, including smartphones and tablets, that belong to individuals entering or exiting the country, the agency announced Friday.

The updated rules allow agents to continue to inspect information that's stored on a device, not in the cloud. But from now on, they can't copy that information or connect to an external device to analyze the contents, unless they have reasonable suspicion of criminal behavior.

Erik Anderson

This week on Fronteras:

  • In California, Border Patrol agents are getting sick from sewage spills in the Tijuana River.
  • A language barrier often exists between patients and their doctors  (7.02).
  • A high profile Hispanic throws her hat into the ring for Texas governor (12.57).
  • Mariachi music makes its way out of the cantinas and into the classrooms (17.27).


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