Editor’s Note: Today we’re excited to feature a Points Interview with Holly M. Karibo and George T. Díaz, editors of the new book Border Policing: A History of Enforcement and Evasion in North America (University of Texas Press, 2020). Karibo is an assistant professor of history at Oklahoma State University. She is the author of Sin City North: Sex, Drugs, and Citizenship in the Detroit-Windsor Borderland (University of North Carolina Press, 2015). Díaz is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He is the author of Border Contraband: A History of Smuggling across the Rio Grande (University of Texas Press, 2015).
Describe your book in terms your bartender could understand.
(Holly M. Karibo, left, and George T. Díaz, right)
The book is a series of essays on how efforts to police the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico border have often failed. We’d tell our bartender that all this talk in the news about securing the border is both misleading and misinformed. Neither the U.S.-Canada or U.S.-Mexican border have ever been effectively secured. The essays in the book show that border people have always found ways to subvert laws they didn’t like and the government’s best efforts often end up hurting innocent people. Women used to smuggle liquor up their skirts in order to get around border agents and today it is something else. The book shows the long history of Canada, the U.S., and Mexico trying numerous ways to police the border, and accomplishing some, but nowhere near all, the governments’ wanted.