Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Border State

Living in central Arizona, we do see quite a few Border Patrol vehicles, but we don't usually see them in action. The Casa Grande Border Patrol station is actually here because they can't set up a station on reservation land, and Casa Grande has the closest access to a large stretch of reservation lands that are popular for illegal aliens making their way up to Phoenix on foot.

So I was somewhat surprised to see three highway patrol cars and one border patrol SUV surrounding a Jeep (all vehicles appeared to be empty of their drivers and riders) on a patch of dirt by the on-ramp we use to get on the interstate. A couple of miles off into the desert, there was a helicopter circling around a particular spot of ground. So the chase was likely over or coming to its close. Given the condition of the Jeep (looked pretty new and spiffy), I'm fairly certain that the perp was either a border drug runner or a coyote (what the smugglers who lead the aliens across the border get called here; these lovely people are known to take a group of aliens into a fairly remote part of inhospitable Arizona desert in high summer, point in a vague northerly direction and say "Phoenix, four hours walk," and leave).

It's one thing to know that the Border Patrol exists. It's another thing to see that in action. And it's something else entirely to think about the lives and moments that intersect to precipitate that action. That last is not an obvious train of thought for those not involved, but I think it's the most important.

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