“Scene from a zombie apocalypse”: the struggles of an anonymous Border Patrol agent

Much has been said and written about the horrible conditions in the Border Patrol detention centers on the southern US border. But we’ve heard little about what BP agents themselves think of all this, in part because they risk their jobs if they speak to the press. For this reason, I appreciated an article I recently read that offers a rare glimpse of an anonymous agent who is clearly struggling to hold onto his humanity in the midst of an inhuman situation.

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In a little too deep in Juárez

I know I’ve been beating that swimming metaphor to death, but I couldn’t resist. 🙂 Unfortunately, I have some somewhat sad news to report, though I think in the long run everything will work out for the best. The news is that, in spite of my best efforts and the help of so many wonderful people, it turned out that my job as co-coordinator of the Construyendo Sueños project was a bit too much for me. Therefore, for the good of the project and of everyone involved, including myself, I decided to resign.

That, however, isn’t necessarily the end. I still believe deeply in the project and I’ve been a valued member of the team, so we’re going to try to create a new job that is more suited to my skill set. It will likely involve writing, translating, and public speaking. We want to take advantage of the one characteristic that sets me apart from all of my co-workers: I’m an American whose native language is English.

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Scott Warren to be retried in November

Sadly, my friend and colleague Scott Warren is not out of the woods yet. In June, his trial for giving humanitarian aid to two undocumented immigrants ended in a hung jury and therefore a mistrial. But yesterday (July 2) federal prosecutors announced that though they were dropping the conspiracy charge against him, they would retry him on two counts of harboring undocumented immigrants. The new trial is set to begin on November 12. If convicted, Warren could spend up to ten years in prison.

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Week 2 in Juárez: Learning to swim

I just finished my second week in Ciudad Juárez. I’m “swimming” a lot better than I did the first week, thanks in part to a wonderfully supportive team that has done everything to make my transition into this new job easier. And I have to say, the “sink or swim” approach has done wonders for my Spanish. I’ve lived in Mexico for almost eight years, but there’s nothing like being forced to use Spanish almost 24/7 to engrave it more thoroughly into my being. (Below is a picture of young men from a juvenile detention center called CERSAI. More on that below.)

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Good news (mostly): hung jury/mistrial in Scott Warren case

On Tuesday came (mostly) good news on the legal front: The felony trial of Scott Warren, the man who trained and led our volunteer team during my time with No More Deaths in January 2018, ended in a hung jury, which makes it a mistrial. Eight jurors voted to acquit and four voted to convict, in a case where the verdict must be unanimous.

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Thrown in the deep end in Juárez

As you all know if you’ve been reading this blog, I’ve gone to Ciudad Juárez to work on a new project created by the Salesianos, a Catholic group devoted to helping young people. Well, things have taken an unexpected turn for me. I had expected to be a simple worker bee, inserted into some appropriate slot. But on my very first day at work on Monday, my colleague Aarón (pictured in the car with me below) asked me if I wanted to be co-coordinator of the entire project with him. With a mix of excitement and terror, I said yes.

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June 1: Off to Juárez!

Well, it’s official: Everything has finally fallen into place, and I will be flying to Juárez on June 1 to work with the Salesianos there. I’ll be living in a house with my colleague Aarón and a few others. Good news: I’ll have my own private room with its own bathroom. 🙂

It is a paid position, and it will involve things like visiting young people in prison and working with other young people on the outside, project planning with Aarón, and translating reports into English.  Plus, there will be a lot more that we’ll figure out as we go along. We’re very much creating this job on the fly.

I’m excited to be getting started with this at last! Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.