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Immigration Law

I Was Not Prepared...

...for Jenn Budd's book, Against The Wall: My Journey from Border Patrol Agent to Immigrant Rights Activist (Heliotrope Books, 2022).  I thought I knew the border.  I thought I knew human nature.  But Jenn Budd's compassionate, fearless honesty floored me.  I could NOT read it in one sitting, because I had to put it down and gather my wits several times.  Buy it today!  More:

"Jenn Budd, the only former U.S. Border Patrol agent to continually blow the whistle on this federal agency’s rampant corruption, challenges us—as individuals and as a nation—to face the consequences of our actions. Her journey offers a vital perspective on the unfolding moral crisis of our time. She also gives harrowing testimony about rape culture, white privilege, women in law enforcement, LGBTQ issues, mental illness, survival and forgiveness.

Jenn Budd says: “I wrote Against the Wall to try to heal myself from a traumatic childhood, a sexual assault I survived while in the Border Patrol academy and a serious suicide attempt in 2015. Much like our border wall, my personal walls did not keep me safe. My trauma and the trauma I caused others only began to heal when I began tearing down my personal walls and facing my own prejudices and racism. Solving racial divisions begins with each of us. I hope my memoir will prompt more citizens to face our prejudices, dismantle institutionalized racism and be willing to listen to those we’ve harmed.”

From the Foreword by Jose Antonio VargasNew York Times best-selling author and Founder of Define American, a culture change organization dedicated to humanizing the narratives surrounding immigrants: “Through her years-long activism—and now, through this daring and soulful book—Jenn models true allyship, inspiring her readers to examine what being an ally means. Nothing about her is performative, and she doesn’t sacrifice the truth for an allegiance to any specific agenda, criticizing the Trump administration’s horrendous immigration policies, for example, but then also holding the Biden administration accountable for the promises it made. Her firm and fearless voice, informed by her insider expertise and personal LGBTQ+ experience, is invaluable. Her perspective on the U.S. Border Patrol is unprecedented.”

“I don’t know anybody else out there who’s telling us the stuff Jenn Budd is telling us right now. She’s a warrior.” —Kathy Griffin

“An unflinching look at a Border Patrol riddled with corruption, racism, and misogyny. Raw and truthful, no one escapes judgement, not even Budd, who searches deep within herself to examine her own prejudices as a white southerner, and the role she played as a Border Patrol agent.” —Melissa del Bosque, author of Blood Lines, Lannan Reporting Fellow at Type Investigations, and co-author of The Border Chronicle newsletter and podcast

“This courageous and compelling book by a Border Patrol agent-turned immigration-activist is essential reading to understand how today’s heartless and abusive Border Patrol culture came into being and what needs to be done to transform immigration policy in America.” — Ruth Ben-Ghiat, author of Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present

“As Americans, we invest so much power and responsibility in our law enforcement officers. When that power is abused, it’s our responsibility to stand up and speak out about it—and Jenn Budd does that so courageously in this compelling book. Please read it. Please internalize it. And please join Jenn in her incredible activism to make sure the abuses of power stop now and never happen again.” —Alyssa Milano, activist-actress-author of Sorry Not Sorry

“With painstaking honesty and the sharp eye of a natural storyteller, Jenn Budd chronicles her journey from oppressor to activist. She investigates and condemns the agency she once was proud to be a part of while simultaneously exploring her own complicity. As a woman in a heavily male-dominated law enforcement agency, a daughter of an alcoholic, a gay woman in a misogynistic, racist, and homophobic environment, she was determined to fit in, even at the expense of her own moral compass and mental health, ultimately numbed by the sexual violence and physical harm perpetrated on her by male colleagues. Jenn’s story, so deftly told, is a powerful testament to the importance of confronting both our own personal demons and our country’s corrupt systems of power. This beautifully written book at its heart is about atonement and the unwavering advocacy that can grow from self-forgiveness.” —Barbara Feinman Todd, author of Pretend I´m Not Here and founding journalism director at Georgetown University

“This book is a must-read for anyone who is interested in a first-hand account of how immigration enforcement plays out at the U.S.-Mexico border. Through this poignantly written book, Jenn succeeds in not only sharing and humanizing the face of childhood and adult trauma, but deftly connects these tragic incidents to the societal harms and trauma imposed on border and immigrant communities as the result of problematic national policies and politics. Jenn, who as a former Border Patrol agent witnessed corruption at our nation’s largest law enforcement agency and who personally experienced sexism and abuse, illustrates why this agency, which regularly violates basic rights with impunity, needs to be brought under control.”  —Vicki B. Gaubeca, a long-time human rights advocate and current director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition

“A shocking look at the ugly underbelly of the U.S. Border Patrol. Brave and unflinching, Jenn Budd is one of the most important voices about immigration enforcement in the United States.” —Reece Jones, a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow and the author of White Borders: The History of Race and Immigration in the United States from Chinese Exclusion to the Border Wall"