Predawn ride-along with Border Patrol reveals unseen challenges of the job

McALLEN, Texas — Just before dawn is when the U.S.-Mexico border’s busiest region for illegal immigration is at peak activity. Under cover of darkness, smugglers on the south side of the Rio Grande River push off floats and rafts that carry migrants who paid $1,000 each just to get over the river.

The federal agent whom I am following today makes it sound like chess, only this game is between Border Patrol agents and the relentless network of cartels ferrying their human cargo into the United States.

Mexican scouts who watch the river will give smugglers the OK when it is safe to push migrants into the water
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