Journey Along the U.S.-Mexico Border

A TIME correspondent explores the 2,076-mile boundary where the U.S. and Mexico rub shoulders but rarely shake hands

From a bank of fog loitering along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, the waves emerge silently, advancing slowly and uniformly, like long thin lines of infantry, on the mouth of the Rio Grande. The river, exhausted after its tortuous odyssey along more than half of the 2,076-mile U.S.-Mexican border, offers little resistance to this serried assault. Its tired brown water backs up and bivouacs in a lagoon near a white lighthouse, and from there it slips, as stealthily as a camp deserter, into the Gulf.

It is a far from glorious end for a river that for 140 years...

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