For award-winning writer and former agent for the United States Border Patrol Francisco Cantú, the border is in his blood: his mother, a park ranger and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, raised him in the scrublands of the Southwest. His new book, The Line Becomes A River: Dispatches from the Border, is haunted by the stories he experienced both while working for the Border Patrol—where he hauled in the dead and delivered to detention those he found alive—and also as a civilian after he abandoned the Patrol and helped an immigrant friend return to Mexico to visit his dying mother. Join us for an eye-opening look at the devastation the border wreaks on both sides as Cantú shares this deeply personal work with journalist Ruxandra Guidi, who frequently reports on immigration from the U.S.-Mexico border region.
Francisco Cantú served as an agent for the United States Border Patrol in the deserts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas from 2008 to 2012. A former Fulbright fellow, he is the recipient of a 2017 Whiting Award. His essays and translations have been featured on This American Life and in Best American Essays, Harper’s, Guernica, Orion, n+1 and Ploughshares. The Line Becomes a River is his first book. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.
Ruxandra Guidi, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, is an independent journalist with more than fifteen years of experience working in public radio, magazines, and multimedia. She has reported throughout the United States, the Caribbean, South and Central America, as well as Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico border region. She’s also worked as a reporter, editor, and producer for NPR’s Latino USA, the BBC daily news program, The World, the CPB-funded Fronteras Desk in San Diego-Tijuana, and KPCC Public Radio’s Immigration and Emerging Communities beat in Los Angeles. She collaborates regularly with her husband, photographer Bear Guerra, under the name Fonografia Collective.