PLEDGE NOW
Desert America

Desert America.  It’s hot, in more ways than one.  Rubén Martínez takes us there.

Children riding bikes at the desert mobile home park called "Duroville" in Thermal, Calif. After a decade of legal wrangling, the encampment known as Duroville was scheduled to close Sunday June 30, 2013, by court order. (AP)

Children riding bikes at the desert mobile home park called “Duroville” in Thermal, Calif. After a decade of legal wrangling, the encampment known as Duroville was scheduled to close Sunday June 30, 2013, by court order. (AP)

Desert America, the big Southwest, has had a lot of headlines lately.  Record heat in Death Valley.  Nineteen dead in Arizona’s wildfire.  Record spending voted for border security.  Drug busts.  Drought in west Texas.  Home prices jumping in Phoenix, Las Vegas.

It’s ground zero for the immigration debate.  For a national culture debate.  For a “who owns America” debate.  For a decade of boom and bust.  Rubén Martínez writes about it all from a desert level view.  Close to the people, the heat.

This hour, On Point:  Rubén Martínez on desert America, and where it’s going.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Rubén Martínez, Emmy-award winning journalist, and writer, performer and teacher. His latest book, just out in paperback, is “Desert America: A Journey Through Our Most Divided Landscape.”

Matea Gold, reporter for the Washington Post covering money and politics. Author of the Post article: “Immigration deal would boost defense manufacturers.” (@mateagold)

From Tom’s Reading List

Los Angeles Times: Review: ‘Desert America’ by Ruben Martinez — “The new old West, Martínez tells us, is where John Wayne filmed many an iconic movie and where immigrants die crossing the desert. It’s home to cookie-cutter subdivisions and water wars. Americans think of its open spaces as a blank page where any loser or dreamer can rewrite his or her life story. At each of his stops, however, Martínez probes the local history and quickly discovers how wrong-headed that thinking is. ‘Desert America’ is a memoir that also manages to be an excellent work of reportage. Its main subject is the resilient people who populate the West’s harshest landscapes.”

The Hill: GOP lawmaker warns total border security is impossible goal — “Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) said the Southern border is simply too wild for law enforcers to plug all the gaps in the fight against illegal immigration. ‘Anybody that thinks you can totally secure the Southern border has never been to the Southern border,’ Carter said. ‘I’ve been down there all my life, and I’m telling you, you can have a 40-foot wall and put machine guns on it, and you can’t secure the Southern border. There’s too much wild country.'”

Excerpt: “Desert America” by Rubén Martínez

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 2, 2015
Democratic presidential candidate, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley addresses the summer meeting of the Democratic National Committee, Friday, Aug. 28, 2015, in Minneapolis. (Jim Mone/AP)

We talk to Martin O’Malley, former Maryland governor and now Democratic candidate for the presidency. He’s been tough on Trump – and on his fellow Democrats.

Sep 2, 2015
Actor Wagner Moura as Pablo Escobar, in the Netflix Original Series "Narcos." (Daniel Daza/Netflix via AP)

A new Netflix series “Narcos” takes on the story of the rise of the “King of Cocaine” — Pablo Escobar. We’ll look at drug trafficking then and now.

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 1, 2015
Oliver Sacks (Elena Seibert)

Oliver Sacks, celebrated neurologist and best-selling author, has died at 82. We’ll listen back to our remarkable 2013 interview with Oliver Sacks on life and aging.

 
Sep 1, 2015
Denali is seen from a window on Air Force One during descent into Anchorage, Alaska on Aug. 31, 2015. (Pete Souza/White House)

The scramble for the Arctic. President Obama’s in Alaska. We’ll look at the stakes.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: August 28, 2015
Friday, Aug 28, 2015

You say #hashtag, we say, #forwhat? That, plus Usain Bolt and the ominous lurking Segway cameraman. Friday!

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: August 21, 2015
Friday, Aug 21, 2015

Do you even click? (And other reflections on link sharing and web commenting).

More »
6 Comments
 
Do You Recognize Amazon’s Workplace Culture? Tell Us!
Tuesday, Aug 18, 2015

Do you recognize the workplace conditions described in a recent New York Times piece on Amazon? We want to hear from you!

More »
5 Comments