NOTE:  This is the first in a series of articles for The Columbus Packet in Columbus, MS

It’s hot here in Phoenix.  The temperature is over hundred and the sun has just barely come over the horizon.  The day promises to be another sweltering day in a long line of sweltering days.

I’m at Starbucks checking email and catching up on what’s been going on in the world since I left Boise almost 48 hours ago.  Being a gold-card member of Starbucks gives me free refills on the coffee and all the internet I can use.  I’ll make good use of both over the next six weeks.

I’m in Arizona working on a story about the illegal immigrant situation.  Or, as it’s called here, the “undocumented alien” problem.  Like so many other Americans the questions and discussions about illegal immigrants took place for me in theory.  My only contact with “illegal’s” was occasionally in Wal-Mart and my only knowledge of what I read about the border “militia” came from the talking heads on TV or from talking with other people who knew as little as I did.  I’m learning though.

The issue of illegal immigrants isn’t an academic issue that can be appropriately and completely discussed over a cup of coffee at Starbucks or around the kitchen table.  It’s an issue that can only be felt and touched when you’re in Arizona on the front line of what has become the most serious threat to America’s security.  And the illegal immigrant isn’t the only piece of the puzzle here; he is just the most visible piece.

Over the next several weeks, I hope to give you the ability to see what it’s like here in Arizona and Texas.  I hope each article in this series leaves you with a feeling that you’re here in the desert with me.

You’ll share the emotions that I experience; through my eyes and camera you’ll see what I see and through words you’ll feel the heat, the pain, the laughter and the tears.  In the end, I hope you come away with a fuller idea of what life is like along the border with Mexico and will be motivated to do something to change the situation here.

If that happens, then I will have done my job.

Follow along as I continue to report from the frontlines of America’s border struggle.  Regular updates will be posted on the American Border Support website as well as The Columbus Packet in Columbus, MS

 Jerry Nelson is a nationally recognized photojournalist and is currently in AR/TX covering the growing danger close to the border.


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