Borderlands, Part Three
With the U.S. Border Patrol in McAllen, Texas
The wall is behind us, Mexico lies a bare two miles ahead. Although we are technically still in the United States, we are standing in no-man’s land: a flat, desolate landscape of stony soil, scrub brush, and needle-sharp grass.
There aren’t a lot of places to hide.
Officer Rodriguez, from the U.S. Border Patrol, helpfully points out the surveillance tower in the distance. Later, we’ll notice a solitary drone in the distance and a tethered surveillance blimp known as an aerostat. It can watch for movement from 10,000 feet up.
“We’ve also got night-vision goggles and cameras with nighttime capabilities,” Officer Rodriguez says. “We’re using military equipment brought back from Iraq.”
It’s Day One of our trip to the border, and it’s somehow fitting that our first stop should be here, on this slender, lonely strip of wasteland that separates McAllen, Texas and Reynosa, Mexico.
This isn’t where the migrant journey begins, but it is so often where it ends.