Francisco Cantú

Author and translator

Grantee Cohort Spring 2018

Francisco Cantú is a writer, translator, and the author of The Line Becomes a River, a memoir which details his time working as a U.S. Border Patrol agent from 2008-2012. His book describes the normalization of violence that takes place inside law enforcement organizations and considers what it means to participate in dehumanizing enforcement practices. Since leaving the Border Patrol, Cantú has been the recipient of a Fulbright fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, and a 2017 Whiting Award. His writing and translations have been featured in The New Yorker, Best American Essays, Harper’s, and Guernica, as well as on This American Life. He lives in Tucson, where he coordinates the Southwest Field Studies in Writing Program at the University of Arizona. He currently participates in visitation programs inside several immigration detention centers and works in collaboration with migrant advocacy groups to support incarcerated migrants through community programs that emphasize correspondence, accompaniment, and abolition.

Francisco is an Art for Justice Bearing Witness Fellow, which provides unrestricted grants to writers of exceptional talent, enabling them to complete projects that speak to the human cost of mass incarceration.