Until recently, it seemed only the dogs of Lomas del Poleo were free. Each day, the little mutts made their rounds, trotting past destroyed pallet homes, the stacked tires that once served as fences, and the scrap lumber that shored up pens for pigs, goats and chickens. When the dogs started showing up dead –poisoned, residents alleged — the spirit of resistance that has characterized this small agrarian community began to die a little, too.
Residents of Lomas del Poleo, which sits on the U.S.-Mexico international boundary line and is roughly five miles west of El Paso, have been living in a veritable concentration camp. A sturdy barbed wire fence anchored by white cement posts surrounds the settlement. Three watchtowers have been erected. And guards are stationed at one of the only gates leading to and from the community.