This morning a small, thin man came to the door asking for food.  He spoke only Spanish.  He was dressed in the drab brown clothes of a Mexican laborer.  I know what I am supposed to do in these circumstances.  The border is being overrun with drug mules and criminals.  Armed guards camp out in our hills to protect the drug dealers.  They radio back and forth the identity of cars passing through their territory.  There aren't many cars.  We are a remote and sparsely populated community.  Some of these men are extremely dangerous and murders don't always make the news.

But this man was not dangerous.  He was alone.  He had probably missed his ride to Tucson and had been abandoned by his "coyote".  There are a lot of people moving across the border now because the weather is perfect and amnesty beckons.  I gave him a package of flour tortillas and a bag of shredded cheese, and Harold called the Border Patrol.  They came like a shot and caught the man outside our front gate.  Harold went out and told them the man had not stolen the food.  We had given it to him.  They said he had already told them that and he could eat it at the patrol station.

This is a situation that nobody has found a solution for.  I believe in a strong border.  I know that among the decent, ordinary workers there are MS-13 gang members, the most vicious gangsters out there.  They have been caught near here.  There are people working for the Sinaloa cartel.  There are men who have crossed and recrossed the border many times, committing rape and murder.  This doesn't get into the U.S. newspapers, but you can find it by going to borderlandbeat.com that covers the Mexican papers.

I know I have to report undocumented aliens, or whatever they are called now.  The name keeps changing.  But it isn't easy when you believe the person is innocent.  This man probably paid a "coyote" a lot of money to come here and now he's lost it.  Or perhaps not.  I understand that the Border Patrol isn't sending people back until the amnesty battle in Congress is over.  At any rate, I made the choice to enforce the law.  Without law and order, societies break down.  I know this, but I still feel terrible.

8/5/2013 01:40:17 am

The first migrant I met down here was in a similar situation, after 3 days of hiking from the border he was left by the coyote on this side of the border after falling asleep. I found him wandering out of a canyon on a dirt road. He spoke only Spanish and using hand gestures indicated he wanted the Border Patrol to pick him up. He was tired, dehydrated, and at that point just wanted to go home. I gave him water and went to call Border Patrol who showed up shortly. It is unfortunate that people get missed and left behind out here and only our compassion for another prevents people from dying. In that respect providing food and water and then calling the Border Patrol is appropriate.

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Lalin
1/17/2014 12:38:15 pm

I'm a proud Mexican-American, 1st generation of being born here and I understand your US duty, but why do something good and then feel guilty. Why feed the poor man and then stick the dogs at him to bite him? So he could die feed or to wash your sins on Sunday? Aliens? Undocumented!! Are Canadian also Aliens? Or our "neighbors"? Either way, maybe the poor man exposed himself because he had a family to feed and Yes they get deported DAILY. They come this way for a job and to provide a better future for their family and hopefully their kids will live the American dream too. Mexico is not a safe place but we are so narrow minded and assume that INS will give a young man a permit to enter the US legally if they ask nicely. I live in Phoenix and witness the harassment towards Hispanics and Yes we do read your books and had the curiosity to see what my 12 year old son reads and admired so much. I guess will not judge a book by its cover, disappointed!

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