EL PASO – During the recent 16-day federal government shutdown, federal workers and hundreds of families in the El Paso area who regularly receive food and medical services under the federally funded WIC program came close to losing their benefits while many others who were eligible to enroll were not allowed into the program. Although the shutdown ended October 17 after Congress raised the debt ceiling, local residents fear that they may find themselves in the same precarious situation again in February when Congress will have to either approve a budget or raise the debt ceiling again. According to USDA statistics via the National WIC Association, nearly one million women and children in Texas could stop receiving WIC benefits. Nationwide, more than 8.5 million women and children receive benefits under the WIC program. Sofia Garcia, a medical assistant at the Upper Valley Urgent Care Center, is mother of a two-year-old and a two-month-old.
EL PASO – Ector Joel Acosta studies biochemistry and physics at the University of Texas at El Paso and plans to apply to medical school to become a dermatologist, but for now he has adopted a new identity – Borderland Man. In this new role, Acosta, 21, is now a published Latino writer and his first book Rise of the Borderland Man is for sale online. Acosta began writing the fictional account of a young man living in the borderland along the divide between El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico a year ago. Frustrated by the long and tedious process of finding a publisher, he published the novel as an e-book this year. “I was always keeping my mind on something – chess, writing, and art,” said Acosta who is a junior at UTEP.
EL PASO – Ebenezer Anom’s passion for nursing developed when he was a child in Ghana from a visit to a hospital where he was impressed by the activity of the nurses. Despite his parents’ disapproval because nursing is seen as woman’s work in his native country, he is now finalizing his senior year in pre-nursing at the University of Texas at El Paso. He came to UTEP after acquiring a bachelor’s degree in computer science and communication at the University of Duisburg, in Germany. “After my first degree I worked for about three years and then I realized my passion in nursing was stolen from me. So this was the point where I asked myself if I wanted to continue what I was doing or go into what I am passionate about,” said Anom.
BROOKS COUNTY — For the first time, an aid group is deploying water stations in the Brooks County brush in an effort to prevent migrant deaths, and finding creative ways to work with private ranchers who don’t usually fling the gates wide for outsiders. It’s a fledgling movement — only two stations are in place so far — but the rising interest from human rights groups is another indicator of the mounting death toll. It is also a sign of Brooks County’s emergence as a kind of new Sonoran Desert, where water stations have long been a fixture in southern Arizona. As migration patterns and U.S. border enforcement strategies have changed, the migrant trail has shifted, too, leading them on foot through the county’s barren, 944 square miles of private ranches to avoid the Border Patrol checkpoint south of Falfurrias. Nearly 80 bodies have been recovered in the county in 2013, approaching the record 129 in 2012.
Southern Arizona residents say Border Patrol agents are using excessive force, engaging in illegal searches and seizures, and stopping and detaining people without explanation while roving on patrols up to 60 miles north of the Arizona-Mexico border, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU says the scores of complaints it has received in Arizona are similar to ones raised in a lawsuit recently settled in Washington state. ACLU attorney James Duff Lyall, in Tucson, said his group is delivering an administrative complaint Thursday morning to the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, to the DHS’ Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and to the Department of Justice. Two weeks ago, the Department of Justice settled an ACLU lawsuit over roving Border Patrol practices in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Customs and Border Protection didn’t admit any wrongdoing, but under the settlement, it agreed to train agents at the Port Angeles, Wash., station on how to abide by Fourth Amendment protections against illegal searches and seizures.
La frontera entre México y Estados Unidos en Texas se convirtió este año en el área con mayor número de arrestos de indocumentados en EE.UU., superando a la de Arizona, que por dos décadas fue la que más detenciones registró. MundoHispánico viajó hasta esa zona fronteriza para indagar sobre este fenómeno, especialmente porque una buena parte de los inmigrantes que tratan de cruzar ilegalmente planean llegar a Georgia y los estados vecinos, según reportes de las autoridades federales. “Muy pocos son los que buscan quedarse aquí, porque la mayoría creen que tendrán mejor oportunidades de hallar trabajo yendo más hacia el norte”, aseguró a este medio Ramiro Cordero, uno de los portavoces de la Patrulla Fronteriza en Texas y quien está destacado en El Paso. Una de las personas que venían rumbo a Georgia y que fue descubierta recientemente atravesando la frontera en busca del ‘sueño americano’ fue Reina Martínez, de 20 años. La joven nativa de El Salvador llevaba un mes presa en un centro de detención en Texas, hasta que Inmigración le concedió la libertad bajo la condición de comparecer ante un juez.
EL PASO – Ciudad Juarez has been “ground zero” for the violence raging in Mexico over the past half decade according to Ricardo Ainsle, a psychologist-psychoanalyst and author of the book The Fight to Save Juarez: Life in the Heart of Mexico’s Drug War. “Close to 60,000 lives have been claimed by this brutal drug war in Juarez and the future of Mexico’s drug war has gone global,” Ainsle said at a lecture at the University of Texas at El Paso October 22. To combat the drug cartels, the Mexican government sent 12,500 federal army police to the city, which represented 20 percent of all troops nationwide, he said. Ainsle added that the number of drug war-related causalities in Ciudad Juarez during the same period of time was 60,000 and represented 20 percent of the national casualties. “Nearly 20 percent of the country’s drug-related executions have taken place in Juarez, a city that can be as unforgiving as the hardest place on earth,” said Ainsle, who is known for using documentary films to depict subjects of cultural interest.
EL PASO – With downtown in the throes of redevelopment, entrepreneurs are more motivated to stay here instead of taking their business elsewhere, but Ray Malooly credits his success with staying in the Sun City. Malooly was born and raised here and after graduating from UTEP he became a prominent real estate and investment CEO. A graduate of Austin High School, he attended UTEP in the late 1950s when the university was known as Texas Western College. He had originally set his sights on becoming a doctor but instead decided on a business career. Malooly’s success garnered him UTEP’s 2013 Gold Nugget Award, which he received during UTEP’s 99th homecoming celebration in October.
Nota del editor – En el 2011, un grupo de narcotraficantes en el estado de Chihuahua comenzó a extorsionar a Carlos Gutiérrez por la cantidad mensual de 10 mil dólares. Al verse incapaz de cumplir, Gutiérrez fue atacado. El 30 de septiembre del mismo año, hombres armados le laceraron ambas piernas dejándolo por muerto. Gutiérrez junto con otros individuos que, al igual que él buscan refugio, forman parte del grupo “Mexicanos en Exilio” han organizado un recorrido en bicicleta desde El Paso hasta Austin en contra de la violencia y la corrupción en México con el propósito no solo de educar al pueblo norteamericano, si no también de educar a los líderes políticos.
Hoy madrugamos y nadie había descansado mucho la noche anterior, aunque sabíamos que iba ser un día muy largo, una combinación de nervios y preparaciones del ultimo momento. Llegamos a Lincoln Park en El Paso, Texas temblando en el aire árido y frío de otoño que sopla por el desierto chihuahuense. Univisión Miami ya había llegado, arreglando bicis, preparando sus cámaras y micrófonos, una reportera pintaba su cara en preparación de la historia que iba salir.
EL PASO – Professional and independent journalists from across the country joined the Robert McCormick Foundation and Borderzine for “Immigration from the Border to the Heartland,” a specialized reporting institute that taught journalists about technology, data, immigration research and law enforcement. During the SRI, professional journalists shared the tools they use while reporting their beat, academics presented their research and advocacy groups talked about how they work with the community. From the three-day workshop, Borderzine gathered the following resources that can assist journalists who wished to cover immigration in their communities.
EL PASO – As a child growing up in the northeast part of the country, Rick Louis LoBello fell in love with wild animals when mountain gorillas jumped out at him from the pages of National Geographic. Today as the El Paso Zoo’s education curator, he shares that childhood fascination with new generations. LoBello, 60, grew up two miles from Lake Erie. As a child he spent his days bird watching, searching for salamanders along the creek and reading about nature in Angola, New York. “I could get on my bicycle, go down to the creek and study the animals,” he fondly reminisces his childhood years.
EL PASO – When University of Texas at El Paso alumna Susana Navarro made it to the nation’s capital to help establish more equality in education for Mexican-Americans, she never imagined she would return one day to El Paso to change her own community. Initially a social worker, she decided to focus her career on combating discrimination. For this and more, Susana Navarro has been named one of three 2013 Gold Nugget Award recipients for the UTEP College of Liberal Arts. During her college years in the late 1960s at UTEP, Navarro combined political science classes and her activities as a member of the Student Government Association and a Chicano youth organization. Navarro obtained her bachelor’s degree in political science in 1968.
EL PASO – Nicolas Charles Damico, a veteran of both of America’s longest wars, shuffles through papers on the kitchen table of the homeless shelter where he lives until he finds the Army patch he promises to live by – “This we’ll defend.”
He does this at the Veterans Transitional Living Center, a shelter for homeless veterans who have the potential to return to normal life soon. “I am now homeless for many reasons. The one benefit I got, I messed up. I used up my G.I. Bill very quickly. I only had 36 months to complete my education.
EL PASO – Con un negocio concesionario, el cual preveía eventos deportivos en el estado de Chihuahua, Carlos Gutiérrez estaba viviendo un periodo de prosperidad económica. Pero dicha fortuna atrajo la atención indeseada de delincuentes. Y en el 2011, un grupo de narcotraficantes comenzó a extorsionarlo por la cantidad mensual de 10 mil dólares. “Te ven que estas siendo próspero en tu negocio eres blanco de una extorsión,” dijo Gutiérrez, “por mucho o poco que ganes, ya eres blanco en México.”
Al no contar con el apoyo de las autoridades locales, se vio obligado a tratar de pagar la cuota, pero después de unos meses se vio incapaz de hacerlo. El 30 de Septiembre del mismo año, Gutiérrez fue atacado por hombres armados, los cuales laceraron ambas piernas dejándolo por muerto.
JUAREZ, Mexico – A few days after her 15-year-old son Juan was shot in the head by armed men, Mayra Carrizales remembers driving along a street in Juarez and glancing at a newsstand. She flinched when she saw the mocking front page headline in PM a Juarez tabloid – “Se lo descuentan!” which means “Wasted!” – and then she realized the picture beneath it was of her son’s bloody and battered face. “Every time I remember my boy, that photo pops out in my mind against my will,” said Carrizales, in Spanish during an interview in her home in the Las Torres neighborhood of Juarez. “It’s like somehow my memories of him had been tainted.”
Juan Nuñez was murdered in 2010, presumably by rival gang members who dumped his body in an empty lot near the Juan Gabriel freeway. To date nobody has been arrested.
“They never did any harm to anyone and still they continued to kill them… For those of us left we continue to struggle and ask for justice.”
EL PASO – Bianey Reyes, 18, nervously pats down the wrinkles in her light-blue t-shirt. She searches for the courage to look up from the floor and her Converse shoes, then raises her head high and sets her brown eyes on a room filled with 20 visiting journalists. In a quiet, restrained voice, she begins to describe the kidnapping of various members of her family, and the murders of her father, uncles, aunts, and cousins by suspected members of the Mexican military in el Valle de Juarez over the last five years. “In all of these events that happened to my family, the military was always involved and they have yet to arrest anyone responsible for the murders,” said Reyes, who attends El Paso Community College and was granted asylum in the U.S. this summer after a three-year wait. Reyes testimony at a recent immigration reporting workshop at the University of Texas at El Paso marks the first time she has gone public with her ordeal.
CHAPARRAL, NM – An animal lover since she was a child, El Pasoan Iliana Guzman now devotes her free time to the care of homeless animals. The 34-year-old paralegal last year opened her very own animal shelter, a long time dream, and now cares for nearly 100 dogs and cats on her one-and-a-half acre parcel of land in Chaparral, New Mexico. Recently, she rescued several dozen animals that had been removed from their owner because of hoarding. Prior to opening Enchanted Pass Animal Rescue, Guzman would always take abandoned animals into her home and then rehabilitate them until she could find suitable owners. Although the last year has been a busy time for Guzman and her four children, who also help with the care of the animals, “it’s worth it in the end,” she says.
EL PASO – Researchers from the Cross-Border Issues Group at the University of New Mexico unveiled the faces of traveling migrants in an hour-long, eye-opening presentation at UTEP recently for journalists on the realities of immigration. “Central Americans have no sense of the distance they will have to walk to the border,” said Carolyn Gonzalez of UNM who co lead the presentation with Richard J. Schaefer, co-founder of CBIG and a professor at UNM. “The Ebb and Flow of Immigration: Getting Away from the Buzz,” as the presentation was titled, covered hot topics of immigration, including personal stories gathered by members of the CBIG during their visits to migrant shelters in Mexico and Central America. They also presented photos of the conditions migrants face when traveling through Central America and Mexico to the U.S., and valuable data regarding border security and the economic impact of immigration on the nation. Their presentation was part of a national immigration-reporting workshop at UTEP September 26-29 called “Immigration from the Border to the Heartland.” Twenty U.S. journalists from online, print, TV and radio outlets in both English and Spanish participated in the workshop that was sponsored by the McCormick Foundation and hosted by the online magazine Borderzine.com.
EL PASO – Advocates, journalists and policy experts joined for a virtual debate to discuss the immigration reform bill on Sept. 28as part of a Specialized Reporting Institute on immigration held at the University of Texas at El Paso. Richard Pineda, associate professor for the UTEP Department of Communication, moderated the panel of immigration experts that included Michelle Mittelstadt, from the Migration Policy Institute, Susana Flores, communications specialist for Casa de Maryland, Amanda Bergson-Shilcock, from Welcome House Pennsylvania, and Patricia Guadalupe, Capitol Hill correspondent for Hispanic Link. The panelists discussed issues related to the proposed immigration reform bill which was passed this summer by the Senate and is pending in the house. The Senate bill is expected to give a path from temporary status to citizenship for some 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., and will prevent a continued record number of deportations.
EL PASO – The American media still has a lot of work to do. It has not fulfilled its responsibility covering the stories of the millions of immigrants that live in the United States, and has not fully challenged the narrative that has dominated the immigration debate for the last decade and a half, a panel of border activists and immigration experts agreed this last weekend. In front of the five panelists, a roomful of journalists listened to their concerns and ideas as part of the first Specialized Reporting Institute on Immigration Reform held in El Paso, TX and sponsored by the McCormick Foundation. The twenty reporters from all over the country and a dozen journalism students sat in silence inside the auditorium of Centro de Salud Familiar La Fe on Sept. 28 as they listened to the concerns of the immigration advocates.
WASHINGTON – A group of elderly migrant laborers ended a cross-country protest Thursday outside the White House, hoping the U.S. would prod Mexico to pay money owed to them for work they did decades ago. “We want Washington and the whole world to know that the Mexican government stole our money,” the group of 20 “ex braceros,” or migrant laborers, and activists sang. They ended their 22-day cross-country trip, demanding the U.S. government open the Bracero Program files and aid them in obtaining the 10 percent of their wages in savings accounts they claim the Mexican government never paid them. The U.S. established the Bracero Program in 1942 to give visas to guest laborers who replaced domestic workers who were fighting in World War II. It employed several thousand Mexican agricultural and railroad workers until the program ended in 1967.
EL PASO – Desiree Lara, 18, se divertía en la fiesta de un amigo muy conocido en Canutillo, Texas una noche de marzo de 2012, pasando la noche bailando al ritmo de música electrónica, cumbias, hip hop, tomando cerveza, tequila y otras bebidas preparadas. Los padres de su amigo estaban fuera de la ciudad y el muchacho de 17 años decidió que era la noche perfecta para invitar a sus amigos a una fiesta con bebidas alcohólicas y hasta incluso contratar a un DJ. Siguiendo los consejos de su madre de no manejar ebria, Lara le pidió a una amiga, Sarah Castillo, de 18 años, que la llevara a casa en su carro. Durante los próximos diez minutos sus vidas dieron un giro inesperado. Mientras Lara y su amiga se iban de la fiesta, uno de sus mejores amigos, Nathan Ramírez de 18 años manejaba de regreso a la fiesta tras ir a dejar a su novia a su casa.
EL PASO – A controversial law passed during the 83rd session of the Texas State Legislature in 2013 that restricts women’s reproductive health options drew strong criticism at a gathering here of state legislators from the El Paso area. The bill restricts abortions after 20 weeks and mandates that clinics must meet the same standards as major surgical health-care facilities. Governor Rick Perry signed it into law on July 18 in a second special session after a filibuster by Senator Wendy Davis (D) on June 25 that drew national attention. Rep. Marisa Marquez (D -77), Rep. Naomi Gonzalez (D-76) and Rep. Mary Gonzalez (D-75) agreed that the legislation was detrimental to an individual’s health and that the legislation was biased against women. “When the heat is on and you have something explode the way it did you really do see the true character of Texas women,” Marquez said.
WASHINGTON – Senators searched for a balance Tuesday between increasingly lenient state and federal laws concerning marijuana. “Experts fear they will create a big marijuana industry, including a Starbucks of marijuana,” Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, said. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee spoke at a hearing with people on the frontlines of the marijuana issue. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have laws allowing medical marijuana, and 16 of those have decriminalized possession of small amounts. Colorado and Washington have legalized the recreational use of marijuana.
EL PASO— With college enrollment constantly increasing, the number of students with mental health issues on college campuses has also gone up. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimates that anxiety, depression and general stress are on the rise. In 2012 “more than 25 percent of college students have been diagnosed or treated by a professional for a mental health condition within the past year,” according to NAMI. These are individuals who come into university and find themselves dealing with “stress, relationships, and adjusting to college life,” which happen to be some of the major issues weighing on student’s minds at The University of Texas at El Paso, says Cecilia Holguin, a licensed clinical social worker and one of several counselors at the University Counseling Center. A major problem for these students is a lack of awareness that help is nearby. “We always try to do outreach.
EL PASO— A woman in her 40’s , hair pulled back, wearing a Metallica tank top and tight jazz pants creates a rhythmic percussion with her tap shoes. She’s been tapping since the age of 13 and today Kristy O’Connell is the owner and main choreographer at the British Ballet Academy in El Paso, a goal she achieved 16 years ago. Yet, O’Connell admits she didn’t fall in love with dance as a child. It was not until when she stepped into her first pair of tap shoes as a teenager that she knew what she wanted to do it for the rest of her life. “You just forget about everything when you dance.
Piolín’s exit: Univisión’s abrupt decision to pull the plug on long-time syndicated radio show Piolín por la Mañana stems from alleged sexual harassment by its star, reports The Los Angeles Times. Writer, producer and performer for the radio program Alberto “Beto” Cortez alleges that his boss, Eddie “Piolín” Sotelo, was “physically, sexually and emotionally harassing” him for a three-year period ending last January, the Times reported. The accusation was made in an April 16 letter from Cortez’s attorney Robert Clayton to executives Roberto Llamas and José Valle of Univisión Communications Inc., the Times reported July 29. Sexual harassment alleged
“In addition to the claim of sexual harassment, Cortez alleged that Sotelo ordered members of his radio production team to falsify letters in support of a high-profile campaign for congressional immigration reform, an issue that Sotelo championed on his program,” the Times wrote. According to documents it obtained, Cortez claimed that Sotelo continually made aggressive and unwanted sexual advances.
WASHINGTON — Reaction by leaders of both the Republican and Democratic parties, as well as Hispanic and civil rights organizations, has been swift, strident and steady this week in answer to anti-Hispanic comments made by U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa. Responding to DREAMer supporters’ contentions that the contributions and potential of tens of thousands of undocumented Latino youths are undervalued, the six term Republican Congressman told the conservative Website Newsmax July 18 that for every “illegal immigrant” who becomes a valedictorian, “there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and have calves s the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
Fellow Republican Raúl Labrador of Idaho quickly characterized King’s comments as “irresponsible and reprehensible,” adding, “I hope that if he thought about it, he wouldn’t say such a thing again.”
But he already has. Since then, King has elaborated in a July 23 Radio Iowa interview with O. Kay Henderson , “It’s not something that I’m making up. This is real. We have people that are drug mules…You can tell by their physical characteristics what they’re doing for months, going through the desert with 75 pounds of drugs on their back.”
WASHINGTON – With the U.S. Senate-passed immigration bill facing political limbo in the U.S. House of Representatives, conservative factions are voicing their opposition loudly here before any compromise can be reached. Travel buses full of mainly older white attendees, from mostly southern states, representing the Tea Party Community group along with the Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA) spearheaded by Leah Durant gathered here at Freedom Plaza recently during the “March for Jobs” rally. They carried homemade anti-immigration reform signs demanding “No Amnesty”, “American Jobs are for Americans”, “Close our Borders” and simply, “Deport.”
“All Democrats and all Independents in the Senate believe that there ought to be Amnesty, a handful of Republicans believe that also,” U.S. Representative Steve King a Republican from Iowa told them. “Whatever our heart says about people that want to be Americans but sought about doing it the illegal way, we can’t give them that legal status without sacrificing the rule of law.”
Braving the scorching heat, close to 1000 demonstrators led by King marched along Pennsylvania Ave. toward Capitol Hill’s upper Senate Park chanting slogans like “Kill the Bill” (referring to the Senate immigration bill 744) and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the Gang of Eight must go.” The drafters of the bill are known as the Gang of Eight.
CD. JUAREZ – She remembers everything about that Thursday afternoon in 2004 at the cycling track of Ciudad Juarez. The training was going perfectly. She was confident about her speed, her movements, her pedaling. She was five-years-old and new to the cycling sport, but loved riding.