Patrolling Chaos by Robert Lee Maril

The book of Robert Maril primarily discussed the work of the Border Patrol views into the U.S.  Mexico border issues like smuggling and immigration. This story is based on broad ethnographic field work focusing on one station of, more or less, three hundred Border Patrol agents over two-year period. The author spent two years in observing the hesitation and surveillance of thousands of undocumented workers and drug interdictions involving large amount of marijuana and cocaine. Furthermore, it also tackles the impact of 911 attacks on border security and personal lives of the enforcer and their families. No doubt that this book covers the history of the Border Patrol and its immerging importance to individual who wants to work in the borders of the United States.

The story is about the approximately 110,000 residents of McAllen, Texas, as they sleep thoroughly, when a few number of U.S. Border Patrol wait in dark shades on the northern bank of the Rio Grande. Those U.S Border Patrol are the first in line of protection against a chaotic circumstances that may happen and the undocumented workers struggling to cross the river to El Norte together with the small determined groups of drug smugglers with large amount of money at stake. The story primarily describes the daily risks and challenges that the border patrol face, and the views or insights they seize as a result of their widespread, first-hand experience with the difficult realities of immigration policy, the battle on drugs, and the danger of terrorist infiltration that may attack the United States territory.

The border enforcement has escalated primarily along the United States-Mexico border since 1993.The presence of heavy enforcement at the border is to work at slowing or stopping illegal crossing individuals. For this reason, the demand of the Border Patrol for agents is apparently endless. Most people who are spotted and arrested at the border are voluntarily return to Mexico to try again. Thus, the U.S.-Mexico Border Patrols have been increasingly militarized in the last two decades and increased number of individuals to primarily secure the border. In this sense, the Border Patrol has succeeded in establishing an image of being under control of the area.

According to the author, the main driving force of immigration across the border is the Mexican Economy, especially the free trade and underdevelopment of establishments in the country side. This is for the reason that Mexican business interests and governments continue the kind of unequal and unbalanced development in Mexico that make the people to migrate in the United States. However, increased in the number of enforcement has been accompanied by increase in the number of deaths of unauthorized border crossers in the region. Some of them are pushed into a more dangerous and remote area likes mountains, deserts and brush country. In response to this issue, the Border Patrol implemented Operation Life Saver and saved over 1800 migrants in misery during 2002. Also, the Border Patrol officials together with the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) blame immigrants deaths on deceitful smugglers and increased migrant smuggling as evidence.

The operation employs familiar tactics of many various enforcement resources at the border to determine unauthorized individuals crossing the sites near urban areas. Primarily, the operation Rio Grande was launched in summer 1997, focusing on the Laredo and McAllen Border Patrol sectors in south Texas. However, the author focused mainly in Mc Allen that prevented unauthorized crossings in the primary crossings zones in the cities. However, dislocation effect occurred in the direction of the west. The unit has trumpeted in the area declining the number crime rates. Nonetheless, the author reported the success in reducing unauthorized immigrant crossings the borders. The Border Patrol official for instance completely separated reality from the increasing movement of crossers. These are being observed by local Border Patrol officers who are unable to arrest them.

In this sense, none of the 911 terrorist came through the border since there is no reasonable entry for them to push their plan since terrorist devices could only be smuggled through Mexico. Furthermore, crossing the border needs cooperation throughout the domestic U.S. society and since it is rigid border enforcement, the Border Control measures are overestimated compared to other measures of the United States. Also, major vulnerability of borders is controlled primarily by Border Patrol and ports of entry, including container seaports, airports and possible land port.

In overall, this is a book of rarely documented perspective of the world or agents of the United States Border Patrol. This will further contribute to a more complete understanding of the status of our border with Mexico. Moreover, this is a good reading for students since the writer takes the readers into the world of US Border Patrol agents and the challenges they face in enforcing law along the border. After reading the book, the reader would be shocked to know what is going on along border, like illegal immigrants from different countries, smugglers of drugs and others. Definitely, the author did a great job in exposing the truth of what is going on in Americas border. Thus, rigorous training regimen accurately discussed by the author even if it is bordered on propaganda. That alone may encourage towards candidates to the difficulty and sacrifices of U.S. Border Patrol Agent. The field stories are completely appealing to anyone who served in a law enforcement position specifically in the issue against border wars.


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