The US Border Patrol is not what you think and definitely not as Hollywood portrays them (like Men in Black, not). The men are very polite and fit and have great uniforms…OK never mind that part. They are both Mexican and white, male and female. They are very visible in my neighborhood, with familiar green-striped trucks and helicopters, plus ATVs and horses. The first time you see a Border Patrol truck stopped with eight or ten UDAs sitting down on the side of the road, it’s a bit of a shock. Here, they take them back to the border town of Naco, a couple miles down the road.
Being a BP agent is also a job and they are human beings—they get sandwiches at the Safeway deli and coffee at the Shell station. My friend Janice often walks right up to them and thanks them out loud, but she’s a shameless flirt. If you ask them how they’re doing, they say “busy.”
When I volunteered at the pound I adopted out more than a few dogs and cats to border patrol agents and their families—they live here too. There’s a popular small Mexican takeout restaurant nearby that’s busy from morning till night and often BP trucks and/or cop cars are parked out front. We’re glad the guys have a local place to eat that they can trust, as we’ve heard horrible rumors of some fast-food restaurant employees sabotaging the food of BP agents. Once we saw a group of young Mexicans being quietly hateful to some agents in Safeway, but from what I see, that isn’t the norm. People accept them. If you don’t like the USBP you should definitely move away from the border.
Whenever we go to Tucson all traffic is required to stop at a checkpoint. A male or female BP agent with a German shepherd asks a few questions then looks inside the back windows of your car. People here accept this inconvenience as part of life.
Sometimes their helicopters will hover for 15 or 20 minutes in the desert right behind the fence in our backyard. As much as I love to go for walks around here, I never walk after dark. I have seen too many makeshift shelters in the nearby desert—mesquite trees with the brush flattened down under them, filled with garbage. So very, very, much garbage. The helicopters hover until the trucks can get in there to pick up the UDAs. (That stands for undocumented aliens, what they seem to officially call them here.)
A lot of people here claim to hate the Border Patrol but damn, we’re glad they’re here.