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2+ Works 631 Membros 23 Críticas

About the Author

Image credit: Francisco Cantú

Obras por Francisco Cantú

Associated Works

The Best American Essays 2016 (2016) — Contribuidor — 130 exemplares
Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy (2020) — Contribuidor — 3 exemplares


Conhecimento Comum

Nome canónico
Cantú, Francisco
Data de nascimento



A thought provoking memoir of Cantu's time with the Border Patrol. He was raised along this beautiful border but felt a great need to better understand it. I loved his dedication page: "To my mother and grandfather, for giving me life and a name, and to all those who risk their souls to traverse or patrol an unnatural divide"; for that is what the border is, an unnatural divide between two amazing cultures who can only clash because of preconceived ideas and xenophobia.

Well written!
juju2cat | 22 outras críticas | Nov 26, 2023 |
“One of my principal goals in The Line Becomes a River was to create space for readers to inhabit an emergent sense of horror at the suffering that takes place every day at the border. In narrating my own gradual participation in the various degrees of violence inflicted in the fulfillment of our nation’s immigration policies and enforcement practices, I sought to leave room for readers to construct their own moral interpretation of the events described.” – Francisco Cantú, The Line Becomes a River

Francisco Cantú is of Mexican American descent and has lived and worked for many years along the US-Mexico border. In this memoir, he recounts his experiences as a former border patrol officer, an intelligence agent, and friend of an illegal migrant trying to return to his family in the US. This book provides a description of the issues related to the border from different perspectives. Along the way, the author provides historical context, humanizes the people involved, and brings it to a personal level by examining the dynamics within his own family.

He explores the actions of border agents, cartels, coyotes (guides), smugglers, and regular people looking for a better life. There are no easy answers to the border problems, and this book does not try to solve them. Rather, it offers insights to assist in understanding them. Highly recommended.
… (mais)
Castlelass | 22 outras críticas | Oct 30, 2022 |
Call him Paco. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money as a Fulbright fellow, and nothing particular to interest him in academia, he thought he would join the Border Patrol and see the desert part of the world. As a writer, Francisco Cantu sets up not the immigration treatise that press reports had prepared me for, but a quest in the manner of Moby-Dick.

This is no policy thesis--Cantu wants to experience the frontier as an ordinary border cop. His discussion of the narco wars is just a Melvillesque midsection discursion, like something told on the quarterdeck before the white whale finally surfaces (avast there! spoilers ahead). Throughout his journey searching for drug smugglers, Cantu documents the humanity of others as he struggles to retain his own. He imagines coming to terms with the border through coexistence, as St. Francis tamed the wolf; instead the toll the border claims on migrants claims his dreams and puts other relationships at a distance. His voyage then takes a strange turn: Cantu abandons la migre, only to approach the border beast again soon enough.

As news reports try to address border myths (this story was tucked inside my library copy of the book), I wanted to see the wicked criminal justice issues firsthand. Cantu's most bracing contribution comes in his narrative not as a border agent, but as the friend of a family swallowed up in an Operation Streamline deportation procedure. Only when he learns the dark choices that migrants accept do we truly know the nature of the beast.
… (mais)
rynk | 22 outras críticas | Jul 11, 2021 |
nonfiction (an academic takes a job as border guard to learn more about the nuanced repercussions of border policy)
reader1009 | 22 outras críticas | Jul 3, 2021 |



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