7 Images

Securing the Rio Grande

INSPECTION: Agent Rhaudell Cordova looks at a man’s documents on a Houston-bound bus. Despite their efforts at the border, the agents are under no illusions they can catch everyone. (Don Bartletti / LAT)
With the presence of a U.S. Border Patrol helecopter overhead, a would-be border jumper splashes back towards the Mexico side of the Rio Grande River. (Don Bartletti / LAT)
U.S. Border Patrol agent Derek Conrow checks a beach littered with inner tubes and plastic bags. (Don Bartletti / LAT)
VIGILANT: Agent Pedro “Pete” Martinez, patrolling along the Rio Grande, says Border Patrol presence is crucial, regardless of how many people are caught. “If we left, the bad guys would notice.” (Don Bartletti / LAT)
ELECTRONIC OVERVIEW: In sector headquarters, U.S. Border Patrol agent Pat McDermott views a bank of closed circuit TV monitors. Pole mounted cameras give him many views of the Rio Grande valley. (Don Bartletti / LAT)
BETTER LIFE: Agent Paul Backor says that when he finds immigrants with children, he thinks about his daughters and wonders whether agents can ever stop poor families from sneaking into the U.S. (Don Bartletti / LAT)
Armed U.S. Border Patrol agents speed along the Rio Grande river. (Don Bartletti / LAT)