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The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona Borderlands

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  469 ratings  ·  81 reviews
Dispatches from Arizona—the front line of a massive human migration—including the voices of migrants, Border Patrol, ranchers, activists, and others
For the last decade, Margaret Regan has reported on the escalating chaos along the Arizona-Mexico border, ground zero for immigration since 2000. Undocumented migrants cross into Arizona in overwhelming numbers, a state whose
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Beacon Press (first published 2010)
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Meg - A Bookish Affair
"The Death of Josseline" was written several years ago but in our current political climate, this remains an incredibly important read. Immigration, both legal and illegal, has become an increasingly popular topic to rail over. There are many different sides and thoughts to consider. This book tries to capture many of these sides.

This heart-wrenching books opens with the death of a young teenager who is traveling through the harsh deserts of Northern Mexico with her little brother in order to r
Jennifer Kim
Jun 16, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a book about immigration, and I’d like to start by telling you a little bit of my immigration story. As long as I could remember, we were coming to America. I can’t remember a time when we weren’t planning to come to America.

My mother had two brothers. The younger brother had the luck to be scouted by an American company in the late 60’s and came to America. The younger brother started the paperwork for the visa for my mother and her older brother. Ten years later, the visa finally cam
Feb 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“She was a little girl with a big name, Josseline Jamileth Hernandez Quinteros.” Thanks to Margaret Regan no one who reads ‘The Death of Josseline’ will ever forget her.

Regan takes the tragic death of this fourteen year old undocumented migrant and weaves it though a series of chapters that deal with a variety of immigration border issues in Arizona. With the astute view point of a journalist, Regan takes several of her previously reported stories in the Tucson Weekly, and fleshes them out with
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Josseline Hernández Quinteras was a 14-year-old girl from El Salvador who died in 2008 in the cold, winter desert just north of the Arizona/Mexico border. In 2010, when Death of Josseline was published, the wall already crossed more than 300 miles of the 377-mile long Arizona/Mexico border. About 5,000 migrants died between 1994 and 2010 while crossing into the US. Margaret Regan, a Tucson journalist, makes clear that there are no easy answers.

The US has often addressed the end of the line – imm
May 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
We spoke with the author with book club. Great experience! Margaret presents different perspectives of the immigration issues; some we did not think of before. She presents the immigrants in a very humane, compassionate way.
Leslie Zampetti
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Regan's book is a timely examination of the perils of US immigration policy. Opening with the tragic story of the death of fourteen-year-old Josseline, who falls sick while trying to cross the desert and is left to die, alone and afraid, Regan pulls no punches as she recounts the stories of several people injured or killed while trying to get to America. While some may feel The Death of Josseline skews to the left, it is a fair and balanced look at the US-Mexico border and the dangers of crossin ...more
Karel Baloun
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
On our militarized south-western border, several thousand migrants died in the early 2000s. A few of their stories pulled me in hard, and the larger economic tragedy these poorest of the poor families faced hurt viscerally. “How far would you walk to feed your kids?”

Honestly this is a very difficult book.. both to start and to finish. Once committed to the devastatingly sad first story, it feels almost sacrilegious to abandon the rest of the stories unread, as if I were abandoning the memory of
Dan Anderson
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The author has done some serious homework in putting this book together. She has spoken with migrants (many) on both sides of the border, as well as interviewing smugglers, Border Patrol agents, ranchers, border residents, and just about everyone else involved in or affected by the current immigration mess on the southern U.S. border. She visits the scenes familiar to the migrants, on both sides of the border. The reader moves with the author through the rocky canyons and the ubiquitous cactus a ...more
Jun 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think everyone in America, and especially those creating policy, should read this book in order to have a better understanding of what American "immigration" policy is causing. Living in a border state, I realize there are many opinions about the migrants/illegals/undocumented and I think, as humans, we all have to remember that they are humans too. I doubt there is a person in America who, if starving, wouldn't do everything in their power to make their situation better if they could, That is ...more
Dec 23, 2011 rated it liked it
The perspective in this book is interesting and the stories of the immigrants are compelling, but the bias in favor of the immigrants seems too great. We have to look very realistically at the illegals for what they are "Illegal Immigrants" and deal with that. ...more
Barb Cherem
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thought a lot about this book, and so I'm going to write at length and rant a bit.

This book personalizes the issues, while bringing deserved attention to some of the major areas and facts that aren't often mentioned, such as militarization of the border since Homeland Security took it over from Dept. of Justice after 911, a big mistake in my estimation.

The asymmetry of arguments made in the press and among politicians confuses the size of the various factors and the public. It appears that s
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: current-events
Josseline Jamileth Hernandez Quinteros was a fourteen-year-old girl from El Salvador who illegally crossed the U.S. border in Arizona in January 2008. While traveling with her young brother and other compañeros, led by a shifty coyote, she became ill and was left behind to fend for herself in the harsh desert climate. She did not survive. Her tragic death, and the retrieval of her body, serve as the springboard for Margaret Regan’s analysis of the decade of chaos which reigned on the Arizona bor ...more
Vicky Pinpin-Feinstein
May 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
Margaret Regan is a Tucson, Arizona-based writer and perhaps because she lives there, writing a book about immigration, or in this case, illegal immigration south of the border, is a natural choice. It is a subject that she has written about regularly in her career. She begins the book with a prologue--depicting the death of fourteen year old Josseline in prime Sonoran desert--a creative decision for shaping the arc of her stories. Her recounting this particular story is an effective device, ent ...more
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing

The subtitle of The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from the Arizona-Mexico Borderlands aroused my interest. Although published in 2010, this book’s twelve portraits not only pertain to current issues but also provide a journalist's balanced, in-depth background for the discussion of immigration policy and practices.

For example, the bluster about building a wall across the entire border with Mexico? Lessons could be learned from “The Great Wall of Arizona,” fourteen feet high, completed

Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Let me preface my review by saying that I loved The Devil's Highway, and it made me evaluate assumptions that I didn't even realize I had about immigration. Regan makes a reference to that book in this story. And what a story this is. Beginning with 14 year old Josseline's ill fated attempt to cross the border, Regan regales us with other tales of failed and successful border passings. She interviewed vigilantes, border patrol agents, Native American tribe members, migrants, and human rights gro ...more
Mark Stevens
May 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Margaret Regan’s “The Death of Josseline” is a fine piece of reporting about a humanitarian crisis in the nation’s backyard. It would make a fine bookend to Ted Conover’s brilliant “Coyotes,” first published in 1987. Like Conover, Regan puts faces and names to the ongoing dramas inside the border-crossing zone, primarily the Arizona border around Tucson. It’s clear where Regan’s sympathies lie, with the “wretched of the earth” being “criminalized for their poverty.” But she takes an unflinching ...more
Stephanie Wright
May 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
For most of us, we talk about immigration when we discuss our genealogical roots. We all came from somewhere - France, Ireland, England, Mexico, Honduras, etc. For many of us that trek was made by our ancestors as long ago as 400 years. For others, it was made in the last 10 years. The majority of us can boast about the new life that our ancestors carved out for us by immigrating to America. For others it is a story of hardship, prejudice, and even death. Margaret Regan, a noted journalist who s ...more
Emily Just
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
A great read that puts a human face, names, and stories of desperation and dreams to just "numbers" or "statistics". Its easy to lump Mexican and Central American immigrants into stereotypes not knowing or wanting to know the why behind their sacrifices and dangerous risks for so many who simply just want to feed their families. Its easy to also point fingers to the problems of overcrowded schools, hospitals, resources and increased taxes from the immigrants without remembering that we are all d ...more
Karna Converse
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favorites
A great book for a book club discussion.

Margaret Regan puts a human face on the information she collected during a decade of reporting for the Tucson Weekly. She introduces readers to Mexicans and Central Americans who were sent back to Mexico after being arrested for entering Arizona illegally and others who have moved to a border city to find work so they can support their families. She hikes with volunteers who leave food and water on desert trails for migrants to find and use GPS to map the
Kaye McSpadden
Jan 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-non-fiction
I read this book for a book discussion group. It puts a human face on the many aspects of the so-called "illegal immigration" situation in the southwest. It tells the true stories of some of the thousands of undocumented workers who have risked (and in too many cases, lost) their lives trying to cross the Arizona desert and enter the U.S. in hopes of finding a job so they can feed their families. Their stories, as well as the stories of the many humanitarians trying to help them, the rescuers, a ...more
May 30, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: I wouldn't
Recommended to Kendra by: UU Bookgroup
Shelves: ebook, owned
I read this a couple of years ago for a UU Bookgroup. Since it has been so long since I read it, I don't really remember the details, but I can't make myself go back and re-read it. What I do remember is that it was one of the more biased, hyperbolic pieces of propaganda I've read in a long time. The author is clearly biased; the emigrants are saints while the US gov't and those enforcing the laws are evil. The author also really indulges in hyperbole. At one point she seems to be comparing the ...more
Anastasia Zamkinos
Dec 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Margaret Regan does it right in The Death of Josseline. She explores many different but interconnected aspects (humanitarian, political, economic, environmental, legal, medical...) of the crisis on the US/Mexico border. Regan accomplishes this while maintaining journalistic and social integrity and fulfilling a commitment to fairly represent the individual realities and perspectives of several undocumented immigrants and documented US citizens.

This kind of measured, well-informed, and at times h
Thing Two
I generally live by the theory that most errors can be blamed not on a conspiracy, but on just plain incompetency. This book, I believe, was written to prove me wrong.

How Congress can continue to fund the construction of a wall dividing the border between the United States and it's friendly neighbor to the south - a wall which does not prevent the migration of people, but does prevent the migration of animals - for an annual outlay of $775 million dollars annually, is just unconscionable.

The De
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"The Death of Josseline" is a must read for every person who wishes to understand the complicated issue of immigration. Josseline was a teenage girl who died out in the desert while trying to cross the border and reach her mother in Los Angeles. Josseline's story is just one of the many, and although the focus of the stories is on the Arizona Borderlands, the stories represent problems facing the U.S. and other countries. Author Margaret Regan does an excellent job at presenting all viewpoints — ...more
Aug 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
The very title of this work of journalism reminds us that each migrant crossing a border is a human being, who has been brought into the world and given a name. Regan does a thorough job of presenting a decade of deaths and border crossings specifically in Arizona, woven together with developments in immigration politics and policies state and nation-wide. She interviews those who cross, those who live along the border on both sides, and those who are there to enforce the increasingly visible li ...more
Christine Jones
Nov 18, 2016 rated it liked it
In picking up The Death of Josseline, it was clear to me that the author has a point of view that she prefers and throughout the presentation of information it is maintained. The author presents her information clearly, with a good deal of research that she has done. With touching clarity, she provides insight into the human drama that continues to plague the south western states. There are points where the writing gets repetitive, and the statistics are not well threaded in the narratives and a ...more
Sep 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading this book after coming back from the borderlands volunteering with the group No More Deaths. Reading the stories of real people whose lives are impacted by the border really brings home the insanity of u.s. border policies and the tragedies that occur because of them. From little girls dying in the desert to mothers whose young children forget who they are while they're locked up in a detention center, to families ripped apart and people reluctantly ripped from their home ...more
Evanston Public  Library
This horrific documentation of immigration stories from the Arizona-Mexico Borderlands includes the tragic attempted crossing by fourteen-year-old Josseline Jamileth Hernández Quinteros. At five feet tall and a hundred pounds she was in charge of bringing her ten-year-old brother to their mother in Los Angeles, but she fell ill and ordered her brother to go on without her. By the weekend, the brother makes it to L.A. A few weeks later, a dead body in the desert is found and identified as Josseli ...more
Apr 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: social-justice
This book is a pretty good primer for border issues. I had already read the Devil's Highway which is also a good primer but they were different as well. This book is not about the Death of Josseline (as opposed to Devil's Highway which was about a specific event). Instead, the beginning is a basic primer and then we have some things that you might not get from other books... a visit to a couple who live along the fence, a visit to a reservation along the border, a visit to Cafe Justo in Mexico.. ...more
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Margaret Regan is a reporter on a Tucson paper and has been covering the border for many years. She tells the tale of immigration through the eyes of migrants, people trying to reduce the death toll, Border Patrol officers and landholders close to the line. The influx of crossers from southern Mexico and Central America is tied to NAFTA, which allowed cheap corn from the US to devastate an economy based on small farms raising corn and coffee. Homeland Security's fence and suspension of normal en ...more
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