An intense story of immigration and borders

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lurkykitty Avatar


Mona Passage is about two neighbors in San Juan, Puerto Rico, who strike up a good friendship. Galan Betances is a Cuban immigrant whose sister and mother were left behind in Cuba when he and his father sailed on a rickety raft to Florida. Pat McAllister is an officer in the Coast Guard, trusted with catching drug traffickers and intercepting migrants before they reach the shores of Puerto Rico.
When Galan's mother dies, he learns that his sister, who is mentally handicapped, is going to be sent to a mental health facility in Cuba. He learns that his only option to bring her to the US is by paying some unsavory criminals to smuggle her in by boat from the Dominican Republic. Pat wants Galan to reunite with his sister but faces a conflict between helping his friend and meeting his professional obligations.
I learned a lot about the arduous and dangerous journey migrants and refugees make to reach American shores and how desperate they must be to take such risks. I appreciated seeing border enforcement through the eyes of a Coast Guard officer. Members of the Coast Guard are put in some very distressing situations in terms of the human anguish they witness and how they must repeatedly put duty before compassion. Mona Passage provides a window into the complex immigration issue, so relevant right now. A good debut from a veteran Coast Guard officer.