The Border Patrol face many difficulties in their line of work; difficulties that hinder their efforts to save lives and enforce the security of Americans. In support, the book, The Devil’s Highway, the author Luis Alberto Urrea gives us the credible and factual insight into the lives of the “men in green”, using records and interviews from the Border Patrol themselves. These difficulties range from psychological burdens to mortal dangers, all of these a part of the everyday routine of a typical Border Patrol agent. The book itself tells its readers of the tragedy of the Wellton 26 (or as it is better known, the Yuma 14): the ordeal of twenty-six immigrants from Mexico who attempted to illegally cross the U.S. border through the vast dessert, otherwise known as the Devil’s Highway. It is reasonable to say that in the light of their circumstance, there is no alternative but to be as uncompromising as our nation’s leaders say we must be when it comes to our security; additional man power, funding and support for the Border Patrol must be made available for the demanding and virtuous task. Some may disagree; our nation’s focus should be on the war in Iraq instead as considerably more lives are lost in the war effort. Yes, that is indeed true, but we cannot disregard the current threats that our Border Patrol men face everyday at the border of our own country. Coyote smuggling syndicates and drug cartels are growing more and more powerful each day while our security forces are dwindling. Agents, criminals and immigrants die at our very door. Shall we remain apathetic and insist on the war effort in Iraq while our own country is at risk? Consider with me then the current problems of our “men in green”. Suffice to say, we have fewer and fewer “men in green” today than we had prior to 9/11. At our border, “new waves [of immigrants] surged, the Coyote operations expanded”, and “as the onslaught swelled, the Border Patrol thinned” (205). The lack of man power allocated to the Border Patrol only fuels the crisis of the increased drug smuggling and illegal immigration operations and evidently had significant repercussions on the citizens of our country, who by the failure of the Bush Administration to address the reported needs of the people, spurred citizens to protest against the Administration and unofficially support the Border Patrol in 2005 (“Protest targets border staffing”). But that is, unfortunately, one of the few supports the Border Patrol receive, despite their labor. Public criticism and misconceptions plague the Border Patrol everyday as “stories burn all along the borderlands of Border Patrol men taking their prisoners out into the wasteland and having their way with them”, “the dark image of the evil Border Patrol agent dogs every [agent] who goes into the desert in his truck”(17). Agents are advised not to even wear their uniforms into public places for fear of the public violent repercussions.
Criticism goes even further as hate crimes are committed; the Border Patrol face many instances of vandalism of equipment and extreme exercises of protest by radical Mexicans, their “water stations vandalized…broken open so they run dry”, and “[s]mall groups of Mexicans are found tied and shot in the head” (214). It goes without saying that those water stations are used to rescue dying and