Desert Tracts: Statecraft in Remote Places

By Doty, Roxanne Lynn | Alternatives: Global, Local, Political, October-December 2001 | Go to article overview

Desert Tracts: Statecraft in Remote Places


Doty, Roxanne Lynn, Alternatives: Global, Local, Political


Roxanne Lynn Doty (*)

I am sitting in front of a big picture window in the Grand Hotel in Bisbee, an old mining town about two hundred miles southeast of Phoenix, Arizona. Bisbee is now home to aging hippies, artists, and a variety of human beings who seek escape from the upscale corporate greed, auto exhaust, and soul-destroying suffocation that increasingly characterizes the metropolitan centers of the Southwest. It is also a popular travel route for those hopeful souls who illegally cross the border between Mexico and El Norte. About twenty-five miles south of Bisbee, the city of Douglas borders the Mexican town of Agua Prieta. Douglas has become a major crossing point into the United States for illegal immigrants, especially since 1994 when the U.S. Border Patrol enhanced enforcement in San Diego and El Paso. In fact, the Douglas area is now the nation's number one point of entry for illegal immigration into the United States.

The local police in Bisbee busted more than eight hundred vehicles in the past year. Border Patrol agents catch about a thousand or more illegal immigrants a day in Douglas. (1) The Border Patrol's Tucson sector, which includes Douglas, recorded the highest number of apprehensions of any of the sectors in 1998, 1999, and 2000. (2) Total apprehensions for fiscal year 2000 along the entire Southwest border were 1,643,679. (3) The statistics go on and on--alarming, dismaying-- multiplying across the pages of news stories, government reports, and academic analyses. They say so much and so little.

The quickest way to get from Phoenix to Bisbee is to take Interstate 10 to Tucson, then go another forty-five miles to exit 304, which puts you on state highway 80. At milepost 306 in Benson, you will encounter a bill-board proclaiming, "IT'S AN INVASION OF DRUGS & ILLEGALS--CALL YOUR CONGRESSMAN 202-224-3121": a few pounds of cocaine, some kilos of marijuana, human beings with beating hearts... not much difference to some, but all a threat to some vague but powerful idea of "our" way of life. This billboard is paid for by Robert Parker, an anti-immigrant activist who has put up a similar one in New Mexico. Funds from an $18,000 grant awarded to Parker from the Federation for American Immigration Reform based in Washington, D.C., were used for the billboard. When interviewed by the Arizona Republic, Parker said, "There's something about a billboard. It characterizes the power of presence. It's there day after day after day after day." (4)

Ten miles south of Benson and about five miles north of Tombstone, I passed a Border Patrol checkpoint. A group of about twenty-five illegal immigrants (men, women, and teenagers) sat on the shoulder of the highway, huddled together, surrounded by Border Patrol agents, five big Border Patrol vans, a scattering of the famous (or infamous, depending on one's point of view) white sports-utility vehicles with the U.S. Border Patrol logo on the side, and three big, citysize buses, whose stated destination on the front read "Border Patrol."

I pulled over to the side of the road to take some pictures. Four big Harley motorcycles pulled alongside of me. One guy got off his bike, long hair pulled back in a ponytail, scruffy beard, tattoos up and down his arms. He lit up a cigarette, and as it dangled from his mouth he nodded a hello and snapped a couple of pictures. Though I took pictures from the other side of the highway, there were a few things I noticed about the people who were the reason for this Kodak moment in the middle of the desert. The first thing has to do with skin color--dark brown, not Anglo white. Of course, I was hardly surprised by this fact. Race always lurks in the background, sometimes close to the surface of these things. The immigrants were dressed warmly in winter jackets, though it was late March and the temperature was about 80 degrees F. I was wearing shorts and a tank top. But then I didn't plan on marching across any major tracts of land in the middle of the night when temperatures drop to 50 degrees or less.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Desert Tracts: Statecraft in Remote Places
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.