Luis Alberto Urrea makes it abundantly clear that The Devil’s Highway is named aptly, because it is hell on earth. There is no respite from the relentless sun, and dehydration and overheating are commonplace. There is an abundance of dangerous wildlife, from snakes and scorpions to deadly spiders. The factors which pushed the Wellstone 26 into this inhospitable territory was their need to make it into the USA without attracting the attention of the border patrol.
It was their quest for a better life that pushed this group of predominantly small-scale farmers and coffee growers into the Sonoran Desert. One high schooler, for example, was on the trip in the hope of earning enough money to be able to buy some furniture for the new room in their house to surprise his mother.
The reason for them veering off course was that Mendez, a young, inexperienced border-hand who was meant to be helping them on their journey, became alarmed when he saw the lights of a border patrol vehicle. Thanks to the...
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