By Luis Urrea
The book The Devil’s Highway by Luis Urrea is based on a true story.
It tells the tragic story of a group of Mexican immigrants who try to cross
the U.S border. Although many Mexicans have died in the desert trying to
cross the border previously with this particular story is unique in that it was
such a large group that traveled and so many of them died. The title of the
book “Devils Highway” is the name of the part of the desert these men
crossed which is known to be one of the most “deadliest regions on the
continent” and has claimed the lives of many. (Urrea) In 1950 a man known
as Francisco Salazar wrote that Devils Highway “….was a vast graveyard of
The book takes you into the tropical area of Veracruz where most of
the men are from and gives you the opportunity to know who they are. Most
of them were small plot farmers looking to work in the U.S in order to better
provide for their families. In addition the book enlightens you on the
smuggling ring which is big business in Mexico. The smuggling ring was
run by the Cercas family out of Phoenix. People such as Don Moi Garcia
who was higher up in the chain would drive his “American car and smoke his American cigarettes” recruiting
people to cross the border. It was a business and the Welton 26 were
charged approximately thirteen thousand pesos or eighteen hundred dollars
One hot day in May of 2001 26 men known as the Welton 26 set out
to cross the U.S.border into southern Arizona desert along Devils Highway.
The trip was anywhere from 35-65 miles long. Their trip was led by three
guides called guias. The guias earn about $100 to $150 per person. Mendez
aka Jesus Louis Ramos was the lead guide of the Welton 26. The Welton 26
put their trust in this man to get them across and he instead got them lost.
His mistakes in leading them the...