Along the Texas-Mexico border (CNN)Robert Cameron pushes through a thick wall of Carrizo cane and in a few seconds the Rio Grande and Mexico suddenly appear.
If you’ve never experienced standing at the country’s edge, it can be a surreal moment to so easily walk to the riverbank and stare across to the other side.
This is one of those places where there are no Border Patrol agents in sight and no customs checkpoints for miles. You feel alone. But then you notice a well-worn path coming out of the river where the tall bamboo-like cane has been flattened, and reality strikes: You’re not the first person to come through here.
In fact, that’s why Cameron has brought us here. Cameron, 39, operates Texas Border Tours and runs a small fleet of all-terrain vehicles that take tourists on a rugged, off-road chance to see the Texas-Mexico border up close.
“It’s a very good life here,” Lilia Falcon told CNN. “Everybody takes care of the tourists over here because we live from the tourists. That’s all there is.”
On the Mexican side of the border, the closest town to Boquillas is 160 miles away. The town has about 200 residents.
Boquillas captures the deep connection of the borderlands. Until September 11, 2001, you could basically cross the river freely here. Neither the US government nor the Mexican government seemed to pay much attention. That all changed after 9/11.
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The border crossing was shut down and Falcon’s restaurant went out of business. “It was really hard,” Lilia Falcon said. Many townspeople moved away. But in 2013, the United States re-established the Boquillas Port of Entry.
Now the restaurant is back in business and the town is growing again. Electricity was non-existent until a few years ago, when a solar farm was built on the edge of town.
“The word is spreading out more that it’s very safe to come here,” Lilia Falcon said.
The times have changed, and traveling to and from Boquillas now requires a passport. The US customs checkpoint is inside a ranger station in Big Bend National Park.
But Lilia Falcon worries about the future and what Trump’s immigration and border security plans might mean for the future of this little village. She can’t help but wonder if, in the name of national security, this official border crossing could be closed again.
“Then the town will be dead again,” said Lilia Falcon. “It would be hard.”
Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/23/politics/border-series-texas/index.html