Of all the hot-button issues facing the United States in the early twenty-first century, perhaps none is presently generating more passion than illegal immigration. But what the vociferous public debates and sound bites often miss is that the story is far larger than the land border with Mexico.
The U.S. Coast Guard has been charged with preventing undocumented migrants from entering the country for its entire existence. Best known, perhaps, for rescuing lives and preventing the smuggling of goods, the USCG is the only branch of the armed forces actually charged with law enforcement.
Dennis Noble highlights the policies, strategy, and tactics used by the U.S. Coast Guard in enforcing immigration laws. But throughout, the focus remains on the human stories – both those of the small group of men and women charged with carrying out a difficult mission as well as those of the desperate men and women willing to risk their lives for a chance to escape crushing poverty or persecution.
In many cases, the service’s interdiction responsibilities go hand in glove with rescue operations. As Rear Admiral Arthur E. Brooks puts it, “You can’t do migrant operations without having your heart broken.”
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