Border Keepers: Video diary from the U.S. and Mexican Border

We spent 6 days in Arizona with the "Border Keepers of Alabama." We traveled with the "BOA" and got to know them as they worked to fulfill their stated goal of preventing drugs and people from passing illegally through the border with Mexico. Here are just a few of the things I saw on my trip to Arizona.

Entry 1: Landing in Arizona

On the first night of our journey we landed in Tucson, Arizona and packed up all of our gear. What kind of equipment would be needed for this trip? Well a lot of “dark stuff,” as in dark clothing, dark covering for our gear, and even a dark vehicle. We’ve also been told by the Border Keepers that we would need items to help deal with the elements and for our own protection, so we’ve packed those things as well.

Entry 2: First full day at camp

It’s our first full day at the camp site with the Border Keepers. We’ve seen a few of the areas so far, and just how non-existent the control can be on the border. We’ve also had a chance to see the fence for the first time. This is the fence that separates Arizona and Mexico and the parts we saw were just about four lines of barbed wire running across the border. And it honestly feels like in parts you might not know which side you are on. There are few signs if any that we saw telling you what is Mexico and what is Arizona.

It’s a very rugged area, but you can see the parts of land that have been cleared from people crossing. It’s an eye-opening experience as we’ve seen the remnants of fire pits that Border Patrol tell us possibly belonged to border-crossers.

The Border Patrol tell us they are grateful for the Border Keepers since the added help makes their jobs easier. For now, we’ll be getting settled in today and preparing for the operation, or “op” tomorrow.

Entry 3: First night in the tent

After our first full day on the campsite and in the elements, this tent feels rather luxurious. There is a nice cot, it’s nice to finally be able to lay down. But this is only the beginning.

Observing the camp and those staying here we’ve already seen how your talents in your day-to-day world can be used to help here. For instance, someone from Oregon who is a chef is helping out as a cook at the camp. Another person with nursing experience is being used as a medic.

Entry 4: Heading home

After a long trip we are leaving the camp that has been our base of operations for nearly a week. We’ve battled the elements all week so it’s only fitting that we battle them on the ride out as well. We’re having to navigate the muddy mountain roads which is no walk in the park.

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