The Death of Josseline - Immigration Stories from the Arizona-Mexico Borderlands
The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona-Mexico Borderlands
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Dispatches from Arizona—the front line of a massive human migration—including the voices of migrants, Border Patrol, ranchers, activists, and others
She was a little girl with a big name—Josseline Jamileth Hernández Quinteros. Just five feet tall and a hundred pounds, she had an adult-sized responsibility: the fourteen-year-old was to shepherd her ten-year-old brother all the way from Honduras to their mother in Los Angeles. But Josseline fell ill in a remote Arizona desert, just north of the Mexico line, and her smuggler and the rest of her group abandoned her. She died alone in the wilderness in February 2008.
For nearly a decade, Margaret Regan has reported on the chaos along the Arizona-Mexico border, ground zero for immigration since 2000. Undocumented migrants like Josseline cross into the state in overwhelming numbers, pushed into its dangerous deserts by a U.S. border policy that seals off safer urban crossings. In peak years, Border Patrol agents in Arizona's Tucson Sector catch more than a thousand migrants a day. And Arizona has the highest number of migrant deaths; Josseline was just one of thousands to perish in its deserts and mountains.
Set against the dramatic landscape of the untamed West—a rocky wilderness of mesquites and cacti, where summer temperatures hit 115—Regan's book tells stories of the people caught up in this international tragedy. Traveling to both sides of the border, she visits migrants stranded in Mexican shelters and rides shotgun with the Border Patrol, hiking with them in the scorching Arizona desert. She camps in the back country with "No More Deaths" activists and speaks to angry ranchers and vigilantes.
Regan writes firsthand of the desperation that compels people to cross, of the environmental damage wrought by the new border wall, and of the unidentified bodies piled up in a Tucson morgue. She documents the increasing militarization of the borderlands, a place where Black Hawk helicopters clatter overhead and U.S. citizens are randomly stopped on the roads. As one Border Patrol agent explains, "When it comes to the border, there's an asterisk on the Constitution."
Regan's on-the-ground reportage puts her in the heart of America's complicated story of immigration. Her extraordinary ability to witness guarantees that the stories and characters you encounter here will stay with you, long after you finish the book.
Margaret Regan's guest blog about Arizona's new immigration law on The Washington Post
's Political Bookworm blog
Margaret Regan's appearance on Arizona Illustrated
, the Tucson PBS affiliate
to Margaret Regan's appearance on Talk of the Nation
Margaret Regan's panel at the 2010 Tucson Festival of the Book which was featured on C-SPAN's BookTV
an excerpt of The Death of Josseline
, featured in the February 18th issue of Tucson Weekly
Review Booklist - January 1, 2010
“Regan…has compiled a compelling chronicle of the flow of migrants from northern Mexico into the “Tucson Sector” of Arizona, distilling the many facets of this phenomenon into an enlightening account.”
Review Kirkus Reviews - November 15, 2009
“Regan puts a human face on the multiple problems created by desperate, poverty-stricken people entering the United States illegally to look for work.”
Review PopMatters - April 2, 2010
“Regan, a Tucson resident and journalist, writes with the ease of one who is well versed with its people and issues, but The Death of Josseline
is not a ‘just the facts’ book that breaks down immigration policy. Reagan also gets down and dirty with some good old fashion journalism. Her chapters focus on one group or incident and weave them so that reader can better understand its layers and complexities. She talks with migrants about their own harrowing experiences crossing the border and with members of humanitarian groups who try to help them. She rides along with Border Patrol agents and interviews Arizona ranchers. She visits Café Justo, a Mexican coffee co-op that tries to sustain itself and its workers so they will stay in the country.”
Review The Huntsville Times - April 30, 2010
“The first step in solving a problem, my smart mother used to tell me, is confronting and defining it clearly. Regan's book is surely one of those first steps as we Americans begin the slow process of re-structuring an immigration bureaucracy run aground in good intentions and deadly consequences.”
"The Death of Josseline is a humane, sensitive, and informative perspective on a current and controversial topic. It also testifies to the fastest growing international criminal activity today: body trafficking. We all must pay attention."
—Ana Castillo, author of The Guardians
"This book should be required reading for everyone—from President Obama and the director of Homeland Security to the Border Patrol agents, the vigilantes, and migrant rights activists. If people on both sides of the immigration issue picked up this book instead of arms, we would come to a peaceful resolution; it gave me inspiration."
—Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street
"In The Death of Josseline, Margaret Regan stands midpoint between immigration's push and pull . . . her clear and sympathetic eyes watching the south on its treacherous slog north."
—Tom Miller, author of The Panama Hat Trail
"Most border 'experts' and immigration writers are mere tourists. This writer is not one of them. In Margaret Regan's The Death of Josseline, you have a writer who lives the story, reports from the heart of the killzone, and works the territory on a regular basis. The many admirers of Enrique's Journey will find much to admire, and fear, in this powerful report."
—Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil’s Highway
"There may be no better way to understand the muddle that is U.S. immigration policy than by reading these portraits of people who cross the border in hopes of a better life. . . . The Death of Josseline is an excellent way to understand-on a human level-the ebb and flow of human labor across political boundaries."
—Ted Robbins, Southwest Correspondent, National Public Radio
"The Death of Josseline is a border reality check. It tells searing stories of those who've died crossing the Sonora/Arizona desert, of young people sent to prison in Tucson for the crime of working, and of the courageous people of conscience who stand up for the rights of migrants. Read it, and see why our deadly immigration policies need to be changed."
—David Bacon, author of Illegal People
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