The political condition of the US-Mexico border has been deemed a homeland security crisis by governing authorities and a crisis of death and disappearance by aid workers and activists. As the US Border Patrol delivers temporary and permanent military-style policing structure to armor the border territory, small humanitarian relief groups conduct stopgap efforts to mitigate the loss of life in the remote borderlands wilderness. Yet after a decade of emergency relief work with the most provisional of infrastructure, the border crisis increasingly leans toward the indefinite production of human tragedy. Aid workers now grapple with the politics of mounting disaster relief over the long haul. This speculative essay explores what happens when a crisis does not end. I ask, when does rupture become structure? How do the temporal terms crisis, temporariness, the indefinite, and permanency shape the tactics and strategies afoot in the border struggle?

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