The Discriminating Border Patrol





The Discriminating Border Patrol

The Mexican border has always been subject to debate for a long time. Debates have always been about its effectiveness in preventing people from crossing the border illegally. The costs of maintaining this border have only come up as an issue recently. However, in “Border Patrol State” by Leslie Marmon Silko, a personal concern is portrayed showing mistreatment and dehumanization of illegal aliens at the border by the border patrol agents. These immigrants are profiled by the patrolling agents who treat people discriminately depending on their ethnicity, skin color, and physical features such as the Anglo Saxons who are known to wear ethnic clothing and jewelry as well as length of hair. People crossing the border are mistreated without reason, which is quite dehumanizing.

Silko observes that while in the Northeastern side of the country, she has never worried about getting into her car to travel wherever she wanted. She points out that it not even once or twice that she has just thought about getting in her car and just traveling somewhere. On the other hand, she portrays a very contrasting picture about the southwestern part especially near the Mexico border where one becomes a target without any reason except that one is traveling. Once a person becomes a target, she observes that a few minutes drive back home from work could be turned into a few hours fiasco. This becomes quite angering especially when you know you do not deserve it. Depending on your color, your predicament awaits. “It was clear that my appearance, my skin color, was the reason for the detention, (Silko 108)

What she really argues that was quite striking is that despite all the efforts of the government to control the borders, whether costs amounting to millions and probably billions, to keep other people out of their country will not works. She cites that, “it is no use; borders have not worked and they will not work, not now, as the indigenous people of the Americas reassert their kinship and solidarity with one another … the great human migration … cannot be stopped,” (Silko 122). By this, she means that no efforts by the government will ever work to stop the indigenous people from migrating freely into and out of the country. She makes a point that even with pulling people out of their cars using the patrol agents; the people will continue to cross the border. Thus, it is of no use to have the patrol state scrutinizing every without probable reason.

Silko uses her experiences to demonstrate the mistreatments to the indigenous people depending on their physical features as aforementioned. She cites that, “I was detained once at Truth or Consequences, despite my and my companion’s Arizona driver’s licenses. Two men, both Chicanos, were detained at the same time, despite the fact that they too presented ID,” (McNamee n.d). It is clear that not reason was used to detain them other than discrimination for their ethnicity as she further cites that while they had been stopped they saw other vehicles whose occupants were whites being allowed to pass without checks. Through such persona l accounts, Silko drives her point home, showing why the patrols are discriminative. The patrol mistreats the indigenous people while whites are left to pass. This happens without any reason considering Silko was sniffed by a dog just to check for any contraband without any reason to warrant a search.

Border patrols are supposed to ensure control of people crossing the border between to countries. However, this patrol seems only to care about mistreating and harassing the indigenous people or those who are different from them. While people are free to move within their country border, it seems that in the southwestern part of the country near the Mexico border no body is free. He patrol agents require no reason to detain a person other than just the fact they are traveling. Despite the tight unfair measures that violate the rights of citizens, the border patrol has not prevented people from crossing the border. Therefore, it Silko argues that it will never work despite the amount of effort used by government.

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