Lawmakers call for more transparency in port-of-entry funding

WASHINGTON – Texas needs more funding for its ports of entry. So does Michigan. Lawmakers from both states berated federal officials Wednesday for failing to improve the ports and for not even having a current list of which ports are on a list for funding. “The lack of transparency is troubling, to put it kindly,” Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., said during a House subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security hearing. “Customs and Border Patrol cannot continue to be a big black hole when it comes to ports of entry infrastructure needs, which can impact both trade facilitation and homeland security.”

Infrastructure needs at ports of entry often refers to CBP staffing, identification technology and roads.

Here to make the border safe again. (Sergio Chapa/Borderzine.com)

Fin del viaje por la frontera Texas-México

La frontera central México-Estados Unidos: El Paso, Texas y Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua
Lo que sigue es el último episodio del viaje por la frontera Texas-México que realicé con mi amigo, el periodista Sergio Chapa, a mediados del año pasado. Hoy describiré nuestra experiencia en las ciudades de El Paso, Texas y Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. Este último tramo resultó ser uno de los más interesantes de nuestro recorrido fronterizo. La importancia de la frontera central México-Estados Unidos es evidente desde que uno se va acercando a la ciudad de El Paso, Texas. La frontera “central” —como le suelo llamar yo a la zona de El Paso-Ciudad Juárez— es una zona de gran desarrollo económico, de evidente complejidad y sobretodo de contrastes.

Mural at the Stanton Street Bridge in downtown El Paso. (Sergio Chapa/Borderzine.com)

Last stop, El Paso and Ciudad Juarez

I’m going to admit now. There is no way to describe El Paso in a single blog but I’ll try my best. With close to one million residents, El Paso is the biggest city on the Texas side of the border. But it’s also filled with many contrasts making it one of the most complex and intriguing. The border city is home to four international bridges and one international railroad crossing.

Mirel Argueta, a Juarez native and a professor at Tecnológico de Monterrey en Juárez, and Reinaldo Sánchez, Colombian and recent PhD graduate. (Courtesy of Mirel Argueta)

Love knows no boundaries for couples divided by the U.S.-Mexico border

EL PASO – Although El Paso and Juárez are sister cities, they are divided by differences and obstacles that present real-life challenges to unmarried couples whose relationships straddle the border. Three couples, all in their 20s, discuss their transnational relationships, explaining how they wish they could live in the same city with their partners and even though they speak the same language they still clash over differences in lifestyle. However, these committed relationships seem to be strong. Gina Nuñez-Mchiri, associate professor of sociology at UTEP, said, “I would say that love knows no boundaries, but boundaries are real, right? But it’s love that makes you resilient and hopeful, and people find ways.”

The testimony of these three couples lovingly expresses the adage “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Mirel & Reinaldo

“When I met him, I was like, ‘Oh my God.

Nuestra Casa exhibition at the Univeersity of Texas at El Paso. (Danya Hernandez/Borderzine.com)

Tuberculosis cases are more plentiful in states along the U.S.-México border

EL PASO — For three years a woman roamed the border region with an infectious disease, not knowing her health kept deteriorating and that she was endangering those closest to her. This is the story of Rachel Orduño, a social work graduate student at the University of Texas at El Paso, who in 2003 began having a recurring cough. Doctors of both sides of the El Paso-Cd. Juarez border region diagnosed and treated her for everything from bronchitis, pneumonia, to the common cold. “I began with the most common symptoms. Continuous cough, weight loss due to lack of appetite, sweating at night and then I begin having trouble breathing,” Orduño said.

A street car service was present in the El Paso/Juarez area from 1881 until 1974. (Amanda Duran/Borderzine.com)

Posters brought to life the idea of a cross-border trolley line

EL PASO – In an effort to explain the longstanding and sometimes complicated ties between border city El Paso, Texas and its Mexican sister city Juarez to fellow classmates at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, Peter Svarzbein decided to create a fictional advertising campaign for the revival of a trolley system that would connect the two municipalities. But he never expected his hometown to incorporate his graduate thesis art project into an actual city planning proposal that could possibly stimulate the economy in both countries, and reduce the risk of drunk driving accidents. “I wanted to challenge the negative media representation about the border by using the media itself,” said Svarzbein. Svarzbein, who now lives here, hosted a presentation on the El Paso Transitional Trolley Project recently at the University of Texas at El Paso. His talk, entitled Bridging Borders, was sponsored by UTEP as a part of the school’s DYNAMIC Communication Lecture Series.

Roberto Perezdíaz.... (Oscar Garza/Borderzine.com)

Más sabe el diablo que el escritor Roberto Perezdíaz

Read this story in English

EL PASO – El viejo ­que solo puede ver en blanco y negro, mientras que platica con un muchacho se da cuenta de las diferencias de la vida para poder experimentar y entenderlas. Un rito de pasaje de la niñez a la vejez es un tema fuerte en las escrituras de Roberto Perezdíaz. Él describe cómo a través de la madurez una persona es capaz de recorrer los senderos de la vida y los coloca en el desierto de la frontera. Con el lanzamiento de su nuevo libro Más sabe el diablo, Perezdíaz ha reunido una colección de cuentos que exploran temas de inocencia y cinismo, a través de cuentos que incorporan el humor y la introspección. “Cada cuento con la excepción de El papalote y Tomasito es de una verdadera idea independiente.

Roberto Perezdíaz.... (Oscar Garza/Borderzine.com)

The devil knows more than author Roberto Perezdíaz

Lea esta historia en español

EL PASO – The old man is color blind, but as he converses with the younger man he brings to life the contrasts and dilemmas they must go through in order to understand la vida. A person’s rite of passage from childhood to adulthood is a powerful theme in Roberto Perezdíaz’ writing.  He describes how maturity makes people more adept at walking the paths to life and he places them in the desert of the borderland. With the release of his new book Más sabe el diablo, Perezdíaz has assembled a collection of short stories that explore themes of innocence and maturity through a collection of funny, insightful stories. “Every story with the exception of El papalote and Tomasito are independent ideas. But I noticed that one of the themes bubbling through the surface of the stories is that of oneself and the more you mature, the more knowledgeable you become,” Perezdíaz said.