Point of Beginning

Muro del odio: Surveyor stakes and costly mistakes on La Linea

May 8, 2008
A  U.S. Border Patrol truck sits idle in the distance, while a line of surveyor’s stakes stretch beside the dirt road, which runs along thick clumps of river cane hiding the Rio Grande. Each stake is tagged with a plastic orange ribbon. “Proposed Fence” is written along their sides ...

By Greg Harman
Champeño - A couple hundred miles downriver from the high desert of Big Bend the mesquite is in bud and huisache trees are exploding with their tight yellow flowers. The river runs wide and deep, with limestone outcroppings spread like shelves over the rushing waters.
There are a handful of rules here in this border wilderness, my host tells me, first being “live and let live.” The second, similar to the first but with a hint of caution, is “mind your own business.”
Loco Lorenzo, as he is known, figured it out pretty quickly when he moved to this small community southeast of Falcon Dam more than a quarter-century ago. He also realized that being an outsider - and the only gringo not in uniform for miles - it would take some doing to convince the local population he was not a narc. ...