During 12 days in November, residents of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez will get a chance to bridge the border divide with search lights and sound technology for two-way conversation in an innovative, illuminated art installation called Border Tuner.
Twelve journalism instructors from U.S. Hispanic Serving Institutions will travel to the U.S., Mexico border region to participate in the 10th annual Dow Jones News Fund Multimedia Training Academy May 31 – June 6 at the University of Texas in El Paso. Thanks to a grant provided by the Dow Jones News Fund, Borderzine organizes this annual training program geared to support multimedia journalism instructors who teach in institutions with a large minority population. Here is a list of the 12 instructors who were chosen and their institutions:
Nancy Garcia, West Texas A&M University
Jacqueline Fellows, University of North Texas
Ana Lourdes Cardenas, San Francisco State University
Stephanie Bluestein, California State University Northridge
Joel Harris, California State University San Bernadino
Farideh Dada, San Jose City College
Fredrick Batiste, Houston Community College System
Adam Schrag, Fresno Pacific University
Tara Cuslidge-Staiano, San Joaquin Delta College
Jenna Duncan, Glendale Community College
Walter Baranger, California State Fullerton
Steve Collins, University of Central Florida
The week-long multimedia-journalism academy has a proven track record of helping journalism educators acquire a new skills in digital storytelling that they can use to help prepare prepare the next generation of Latino college journalists for a competitive media market. “The trainers at the academy understand what educators need to learn about new and emerging technologies to better prepare their students for the fast-changing future” said Linda Shockley, Deputy Director of Dow Jones News Fund. “This quality of instruction at absolutely no cost to participants and their universities is priceless.”
The goal of this experience is to learn and practice news reporting using a variety of digital equipment, software programs and platforms. Participating instructors are expected to translate this learning into training for their students, making them more competitive in the media industry.
Stacey Wilson-Forsberg, Wilfrid Laurier University and Iván Francisco Porraz Gómez, ECOSUR
The day we arrive in Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas, the southern Mexican state that borders Guatemala, all is quiet. A violent confrontation had occurred just the day before: Central American migrants, mostly from Honduras, had thrown rocks at Mexican migration officials who attempted to stop their entry into Mexico over the international bridge. Many of the migrants hope their final destination will be a better life in the United States. As we approach the town, we chance upon a small caravan of about 30 men, women and children walking along the road in the scorching sun. They are in rough shape and we decide not to take photos today.
A federal judge has given the government and American Civil Liberties Union until Thursday to develop a plan for reuniting hundreds of children who still haven’t been reunited with their parents weeks or months after being separated at the border. “The judge is making clear to the government that this must be a collaborative effort and that the government cannot place all the responsibility on the families, especially when it was the government that deported these parents in the first place,” ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said in a statement. According to court filings, the government has custody of 431 children whose parents were deported earlier this year without the children they brought with them to the United States. Another 79 children are listed as “adult released to the interior,” and another 94 are listed as “adult location under case file review.”
These 604 children between the ages of 5 and 17 are among the 711 declared “ineligible” for reunification last week as the government declared that it had complied with an order by U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw of San Diego to reunite families separated at the border by U.S. Border Patrol agents. The ACLU filed a lawsuit in February that resulted in Sabraw’s reunification order.
Along the dry, rocky desert of El Paso, Texas–past all the food chains and shopping malls–a brown fence stretches for miles. The fence marks the southern U.S. border that separates El Paso from its Mexican sister city, Juarez. Antonio Villaseñor-Baca is 22-years-old and was born and raised in El Paso. His hometown is a huge “borderplex” that spans the Rio Grande River. Antonio has an uncle in Juarez, and while growing up, his dad would take him back and forth a lot.
Life in a border city can be like a relationship status on social media. It’s complicated. More than 1 million people live in the El Paso-southern New Mexico region. Another 1.3 million live across the border in Juarez, Mexico. We are separated by an international boundary set along the path of a formerly meandering river.
By Billy Cruz, Youth Radio
EL PASO – When I arrived at Casa Vides, a migrant shelter in El Paso Texas, I found a two-story brick building close enough to the border that I could walk to it. The building was almost a perfect cube shape, and as I knocked on the heavy wooden door, I wondered to myself, “Is this really where undocumented migrants are being housed?”
But I wasn’t there to interview migrants this time — Casa Vides wouldn’t permit me to talk to any of them in order to protect their privacy. I was there to talk to two college students who live and work with the migrants for the summer. https://s3.amazonaws.com/media.youthradio.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/27123940/YOUTH-RADIO-MIGRANT-SHELTER-VISIT-FINAL.mp3
Casa Vides is a place that provides refuge for two types of people: those who evaded border patrol, and those who were caught — handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement — and then released while their cases are still pending. Casa Vides provides food, shelter, and legal support to around 40 residents at a time and is run by the faith-based non-profit organization, Annunciation House.
Confusion has reigned in the days since the Trump administration ended its controversial practice of taking children away from parents arrested at the Border. One El Paso nonprofit group has taken the lead on efforts to reunify parents and children, and to make sure the world knows their stories. At 2:45 p.m. on Sunday, a Department of Homeland Security bus pulled up outside Casa Vides, a shelter run by Annunciation House, and disgorged 32 people who had been held on misdemeanor immigration charges until the charges were dropped Thursday and Friday. Annunciation House, which provides shelter and legal services for migrants and refugees, would help them begin what promises to be an arduous process of reunifying them with their children. Annunciation House Executive Director Ruben Garcia said he believed this was the first large-group release of parents who had been jailed under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration enforcement policy. The group of migrants were connected with legal help, focused on getting their children back.
More than 900 UTEP students, faculty, staff members, and residents of the El Paso community took advantage of early voting on Thursday at the Student Union on campus to cast their choice for president of the United States. Maggie Ortega, 57, a staff member who helped coordinate and organize UTEP’s early voting day, said she was surprised by the high turnout. City wide, early voting has broken previous voting records, according to local news reports. “This is the highest turnout that we’ve had in years,” said Ortega, who is services coordinator for the UTEP Student Government Association and worked with the El Paso County Elections Department to bring the mobile voting booth to the Student Union from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 27. The El Paso Department of Elections notifies UTEP staff in advance of the date they intend to set up the mobile voting booth, said Administrative Coordinator Maggie Ortega, who also helped organize the early voting day.
Cuban refugees continue to seek asylum in the U.S., traveling from Juarez, Mexico to El Paso for a third straight week, with many staying in El Paso longer than expected, which could strain local organizations that traditionally provide services such as food, shelter and legal advice to immigrants. Elizabeth O’Hara, communications director of Catholic Diocese of El Paso, said about 300 Cuban migrants have been arriving each day since May 9 for a total of about 3,000 in the last three weeks. “Some of them will stay 24-36 hours, but now we’re seeing some of them staying longer,” O’Hara said, adding that the first wave of refugees seemed to be better off financially. “Most of the first ones to arrive had money left so they could bounce out of El Paso faster.”
That seems to be the case as well at the Ysleta Lutheran Mission, which is housing up to 80 refugees at a time. Karla Gonzalez, Ysleta’s chief operating officer, said most immigrants will just pass through El Paso on the way to family or friends in other parts of the country.
One El Pasoan who is super excited by Pope Francis’ visit this week to Juarez, is 19-year-old UTEP student Gilbert Lopez, a practicing Catholic who is gay. He credits this pope and his compassionate words and attitude toward homosexuals for motivating him to come out as a gay teenager. “When I was not accepting of my sexuality, when I would come in contact with homosexuals, it was either you’re religious or you’re not,” said Lopez, who considers himself a devout Catholic and is a member of his church choir. “A lot of times people who are homosexual aren’t religious because of the way people talk about it. They get discouraged,” he said.
JUAREZ — El Paso resident Rafael Sañedo, 21, drove cautiously down several Juarez city streets on a recent Sunday as he headed toward San Lorenzo Plaza to rehearse his part in the 25-mile-long human chain that will greet Pope Frances when he arrives in Juarez Wednesday to deliver a historic Mass at the old Juarez Fairgrounds, called El Punto. “Juarez has changed a lot throughout the years,” said Sañedo, a pet store employee, who has not crossed an international bridge from his home in El Paso into Ciudad Juarez for the last decade. The last time he visited Juarez was to see his grandmother before she died. “She was the only reason why we even came, so after she passed away there was no reason for me to come back,” he said. Several weeks ago Sañedo had a change of heart when, after attending Mass at Saint Mark Catholic Church in east El Paso, he heard an announcement asking for volunteers to help form a human wall, referred to as lLa Valla.
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The 6-year-old online Border Life magazine, Borderzine, crosses another milestone this month with a redesign, enhanced digital features and visuals to better reflect its mission to publish rich relevant content about the borderlands by multicultural student journalists. A few of the exciting changes include a responsive design that allows readers to easily navigate across computer platforms and mobile devices, an updated logo, new story categories covering “Immigration and Fronteras” and “Diversity and Ideas” as well as a snazzier portfolio page to showcase the multimedia journalism of our student reporters. Here are some highlights of what we’ve added:
At the core of the new Borderzine.com is the responsive web design, which makes the site look good across computer platforms and on mobile devices. We’ve updated our look with a fresh, new logo inspired by the sunrise over a Southwest landscape – the vibrant glow of a new dawn in multicultural America. New category sections on the home page showcase our unique and varied content.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – When President Barack Obama delivered the fifth State of the Union address of his presidency, he dedicated just three sentences to immigration reform. Not once did he mention the contributions or needs of Latinos, nor did he touch on his administration’s handling of deportations. Most of his proposals won applause from Democratic members while the majority of the Republican Party sat in silence. They did the same when the president said “…and fix our broken immigration system.”
On Jan. 30, the house GOP released its immigration requirements: more border security, implemented entry-exit visa tracking and employment verification systems and no special path to citizenship.
In Ambos Nogales the narco-violence prevalent in most U.S. – Mexican border cities is less; the lower level of violence is a direct result of the community connection that existed before and since the “Battle of Ambos Nogales” on Tuesday, August 27, 1918.
EL PASO — Norberto Lee’s tranquil life was abruptly struck with tragedy when his father was shot and killed by masked gunmen in front of their place of business in Juarez after he refused to pay protection money to gangsters. For months his father had been receiving phone calls demanding payoffs. “The calls began after my dad arrived from a trip, but he only told one of my brothers who then told my mom and then she told me. I told the rest of my siblings and we thought it was best for him to come to El Paso,” said Lee. His father came to stay in El Paso for 10 days but felt uneasy and was unable to stay any longer.
EL PASO – Drug-war violence has crippled the economy of Cd. Juárez sending many business owners packing along with their customers, to the safer sister city across the border. El Paso has become the beneficiary of that middle-class migration since the criminal activity began to escalate in 2008. Ke’ Flauta, for example, a restaurant in west El Paso, is one of many businesses that has fled from its original location in Juárez. “Unfortunately, Juárez has gotten hit very badly with the violence. The economy is greatly affected and there are scary threats from extortionists against businesses all the time,” said Raul Aguilar, owner of Ke’ Flauta.
Editor’s Note – This is another in a continuing series of Borderzine articles on the migration to the U.S. of Mexican middle-class professionals and business owners as a result of the drug-war violence along the border. We call this transfer of people and resources, the largest since the Mexican Revolution, the Mexodus. EL PASO — With a black apron around his waist and a headset on his head, the expatriated Mexican teenager places the payment for a lunch meal in the cash-register just as the drive-through starts beeping to place the next order. “When my dad came here we didn’t had any money, no money at all,” said Jose Antonio Argueta, Jr., 19. “Me and my sister had to pay everything, the house, the cars everything we had.” With a serious tone, Argueta tells how his family struggled to establish their restaurant Burritos Tony here. “My dad started working at minimum wage earning maybe like two hundred a week.”
Argueta has been working at Burritos Tony for more than a year.
EL PASO, Texas — The office of the vice president for student affairs at the University of Texas at El Paso has issued a letter addressed to students commuting to class from Mexico, encouraging those who may be experiencing difficulty coping with the recent murders in Juarez of two UTEP students to utilize the services the university provides. “The recent loss of students, Manuel A. Acosta and Eder A. Diaz, has been a difficult situation for the entire UTEP community. I am aware that for those of you who live in Juarez and other parts of Mexico or those of you who have immediate family there may be experiencing that loss more acutely,” said Dr. Richard Padilla, Vice President for Student Affairs. Padilla encouraged the UTEP student body to watch for students who may be struggling with the recent tragic events. “Let them know that there are people on campus who may be able to help.
EL PASO, Texas — Last week tragedy struck the University of Texas at El Paso when students Eder Andres Diaz Sotero, 23, and Manuel Acosta Villalobos, 22, were gunned down in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Many alike have felt the effects of the violence unfolding in Juarez the past three years. But like many students, faculty members are significantly impacted by the violence across the border. While much can be said about the counseling efforts given to students dealing with tragedies faced daily in Juarez, little is known about the resources available for faculty to help combat the stresses their students have encountered. “There’s a group of offices that give the professors the support for them to work with students in the classroom,” said Catie McCorry-Andalis, UTEP assistant vice president for student life and associate dean of students.
EL PASO, Texas — Generations of Mexican students have been commuting to the El Paso campus of the University of Texas for almost a hundred years. Two of them were murdered in Juarez last week, riddled by 36 high-powered bullets as they drove home in a residential neighborhood where one of them lived. Manuel Acosta, 22, drove his red Nissan Sentra from UTEP across the line on the early evening of November 2 to Colonia Rincones de Santa Rita where his passenger Eder Diaz, 23, lived only to die four hours later at a hospital. They were gunned down at the intersection of De La Arbolada and Manglares streets in their car near Diaz’ house. Those of us who teach here in this beautiful campus now worry about the safety of every one of the some 1400 students who cross the bridge to study here and then go home late in the day, every day.
As a border city with thousands of persons passing through our port of entries, El Paso is at risk for a terrorist attack, but citizens of the borderland express different views on the possibility of terrorism here.