The Devils Highway - a true story
by Urrea, Luis Alberto
pub. by Little, Brown, NY, isbn 0-316-77671-1 - - 239 p. - - maps - -Acknowlegments - - Index -- Reading Group Guide -- Suggestions for further reading
This book was lent to me by a friend who thought I would profit from reading it. I did.
It is the story of 26 men and boys who attempted to enter the USA through the Arizona desert, guided by a coyote. This happened in May 2001. They lost their way in the desert and 14 perished in horrible deaths of heat and thirst. The organization which they hired to guide them to USA took a fair amount of money for the service. It was a well organized ring. Most of the men were from the Veracruz area of Mexico, a lush part of the country where it rains and finding water is not a problem. The desert they encountered on foot was entirely foreign to their experience.
The Border Patrol, and other law enforcement on the USA side is handled with some sympathy, as are the walkers themselves. The coyote group, particularly the upper echelons are not. The surviving men were repatriated to Mexico. The identified bodies were also repatriated. The Mexican Consular authorities do their jobs as well as they could. The lone surviving coyote found on the USA side pled guilty and is serving a very long sentence.
This book includes a good description of the desert between Yuma AZ and ElPaso TX. It also describes in some detail what happens to unprepared hikers, even those from USA who are out for a picnic and get lost.
This is an exceptionally well researched book. Written in a very readable and sympathetic manner. Read it if you wish to know what the illegal immigrant situation is really like.
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