This book is a journalistic review of the history of the United States and Mexico. Hard Line Life and Death on the U.S. Mexico Border written by Ken Ellinwood talks about the illegal immigrants in the united states. The author reports of the grave impact on the tough president Clinton immigration policies consequences America and Mexico share a broad international border consisting of six Mexico states and four American states. According to Ellinwood, this great border gave the Mexicans great urge to move to the golden land where the promise of good life beckons. For most years, bandits, smugglers, and illegal crossers dashed across the border at nightfall since they outnumbered the United States security agents deployed to secure the border. In 1994, the operation gatekeeper was launched that aimed at preventing illegal immigrants from entering the United States. The illegal immigrants moved towards the Arizona areas where they perceived there were few agents. There were very many life lost, as the Mexicans were desperate to cross the border by duress.
The main aspect that makes Ellinwood portrayal so outstanding is his ability to analyze the border from all conceivable angles. He narrates the story of the entire border in detailed accounts of perspectives and activities of agents, migrants, angry ranchers, and church activists who escaped death narrowly. The writer also paints a portrait of Native American tribe separated by a border they did not create and also follows the coroners charged with identifying and collecting the remains of migrants who could not survive the harsh terrain. A less adroit writer will merely use these stylistic to reinforce stereotypes of angry conservatives, compassionate liberals and innocent victims. Ellingwood transcends his ideologies and respects all the people who lived and worked along the border. Besides, he pays significant attention to the economic and historic circumstances that bind the two states together.
The author of the book articulates his ideas very clearly in the entire book. The introductory part of the book brings out the issue of illegal immigrants in United States. In the book, the author has created a link between the happenings in the gatekeeper operation and the narration in th e book. The picture is well painted in the mind of the reader. The review of the first three sections of the gatekeeper policy along the border indicates that it is a well-compiled account of the policy and the consequences. Besides the wide range of the ideas included in the first to third chapters, the author has narrowed down his ideas to the main subject matter. The author does not divert his thoughts in the entire book. These details are able to bring out the real picture of the story from the first to the last page.
The book includes significant factual presentations that are well documented in a chronological manner. This gives the reader a clear picture of the incidents that are portrayed in the text. I find the book very challenging to people who do not understand the history of the two states. That is beside the point, the narration in the book is very provoking and interesting and as a result, it stirs the interest to read more (Ellingwood, 2004).
The author contribution in the field of writing is social, political and economic to the people living along the border and the two states. Socially, the author has brought up the peaceful co-existence and interaction of the two groups along the border. Socially, the author brought out the economic hardship of the people living in Mexico. These hardships forced them to move into United States to look for greener pastures. Politically, the gatekeeper policy by the United States was a political solution to the problem of immigration along the border. This was social political and economic interaction of the two countries were clearly brought out with a lot of emphasis on peaceful interaction.
Ellingwood story is very emotional since it contemplates on crimes against humanity. He has brought out the theme on torture and discrimination against the immigrants. Although it is very clear that the author does not advocate for these crimes, he does not condemn the United States or Mexico. He remains neutral throughout but the reader can depict the writers stand.
In my own opinion, the book is gender insensitive since most of the victims are men. The author should have included children so that there is balance amongst the genders. Women should have been given key roles of assisting the men in their quest to cross the border. The author should have used maps so that the reader can locate specific areas where certain incidents occurred. The pictures of the remains of people who succumbed during the war should also be included. The security agents’ photos should be included so that the reader can compare the situation before and after the gatekeeper operation.
Briefly, the book is well organized and the ideas are clearly outlined. The main themes are understandable and it equips the reader with wide knowledge on the topic. Although the book gives wide picture of the conflicts of immigrants along the border, there is more that is yet to be written.
Ellingwood, Ken. Hard line: life and death on the U.S.-Mexico border. New York: Pantheon Books, 2004. Print.