With her backpack slung over one shoulder, Gabriela Corona strolls toward the US-Mexico border as casually as if she is crossing the street to school. Which, in many ways, she is.
At this early hour it is so black outside that the scrubland seems to disappear, though the bright lights of the US port of entry punch the sky. Gabriela passes walls of barbed wire, camouflage-clad Mexican officers carrying big guns, and US border patrol agents who sit on stools inside the entry building with their arms crossed. On the far side of the building, on United States soil, the passageway narrows.