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In the 1990s, U.S. government policies of deterrence pushed millions of border crossers into remote areas along the U.S.-Mexico border, such as the desert that surrounds Ajo, Arizona (see Figure 1). A small town, Ajo lies approximately 40 miles north of the border and sits on traditional Hia C-ed O’odham territory. Whereas Ajo had long been a Border Patrol outpost, deterrence policies transformed it into a major hub of activity. In 1989, for instance, twenty-one Border Patrol Agents were stationed here. By 2012, when a new $22-million Border Patrol station opened, the number of agents had risen to 500.


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