Francisco Cantú (Photo credit: David Taylor)

Francisco Cantú, Writer

Wednesday, September 23, 2020,

2:30 -3:30 pm 

an ASA Zoom Webinar* 

As COVID-19 solidifies its grip on the United States, one of the populations most affected by outbreaks has been the tens of thousands of migrants detained in ICE detention centers across the country, many of them operated by for-profit private contractors with dismal records of care. For the past two years, Francisco Cantú has been visiting with detainees in Eloy, Arizona, and will talk about the inhumane living conditions they are made to endure and the alarming disregard for life and health that has been on display as COVID continues spreading throughout these facilities. Cantú will discuss ongoing efforts by local social justice organizations to bring relief and release to detainees as well as the importance of including migrant justice in the broader calls for re-imagining the criminal justice system and dismantling the carceral state.

The La Palma Detention Center, near Eloy, AZ

Francisco Cantú is a writer, translator, and author of The Line Becomes a River, which won the 2018 L. A. Times Book Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction. The book was also the focus of an ASA discussion here more than a year ago. 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. Cantú is also both a former U.S. border guard and former Fulbright Fellow.  

After receiving a fellowship from the Art for Justice Fund in 2018, he has become an active volunteer with the Kino Border Initiative’s detention accompaniment program, which provides support to incarcerated asylum seekers at the Eloy Detention Center in southern Arizona. A lifelong resident of the Southwest and a graduate of the University of Arizona, Cantú now lives in Tucson where he co-coordinates the Field Studies in Writing Program for the university’s Department of Creative Writing.

*To access the Zoom webinar, please write

Written by Marna Broekhoff, Academy Village Volunteer

Sept. 23: “The Impact of COVID on Migration”