Soon after graduating from college in 2008, Francisco Cantú joined the United States Border Patrol. He spent the next four years as an agent, mostly in the field along the U.S./Mexico borders of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. His very personal memoir of that time, and its aftermath, is The Line Becomes A River, Dispatches From The Border, just published by Penguin's Riverhead Books.
"I was someone who entered the Border Patrol with a lot of idealism and naivete, and I had a lot of questions about the Border Patrol that I was trying to answer," says Francisco. "And my experience when I looked back was trying to figure out how so quickly I put those questions away -- in order to get up every day and get ready to go out again and do the work."
"One of the central questions of the book is, What are the ways that we are made to normalize violence in our lives?" says Francisco in this longer version of the interview. "Looking back at my time in the Border Patrol, I was trying to grapple with that fact that I participated in and perpetuated policies that, when I look at them now, seem inherently flawed, and deadly in many ways."