Border Patrol Arrests You—What Happens Next? / by Karie Luidens

Handcuffed migrants (Border Patrol flickr).jpg

We’ve studied the political, economic, and social forces that drive people to leave their homes in Central America or Mexico and attempt to cross into the United States.

We’ve read about the U.S. policy of “prevention through deterrence” that’s heavily fenced and guarded more hospitable stretches of the border, pushing desperate people to cross further and further into dangerous expanses of desert.

We’ve camped in that desert and hiked its dry, thorny trails, experiencing firsthand the heat and terrain and militarization that for years now have killed and continue to kill people as they cross.

Here’s the question on my mind now: What if you’ve made the treacherous journey into the U.S. and the desert doesn’t kill you?

What if you make it across, only to be caught in the region’s net of surveillance—a motion sensor, a drone camera, an agent patrolling by foot or in an SUV, a roadside checkpoint.

What if Border Patrol arrests you—what happens next?