May 2008 issue: Crossing Borders

Crossing Borders

Crossing Borders

Let’s face it. The negative buzz about immigration in the last few years continues to affect all Latinos, regardless of legal status. Increased border security since 9/11, the passing of the Secure Fence Act of 2006 and the simmering demand for immigration reform have shifted the nation’s focus to its southern border. But these debates often dehumanize the “in-between” place so many call home.

In this special edition, Adelante makes an attempt to tackle immigration and border issues (both online and in print). While some of the articles were covered from Austin, a four-member team of student journalists from UT Austin traveled to Brownsville to collect personal stories and experiences. Below is the end result: a collection of text, photography, and video that illustrates the various aspects of border life.

Cruzando Fronteras

Afrontémoslo. La mala vibra alrededor del tema de la immigración en los últimos años continúa afectando a todos los latinos, sin importar el estatus legal. El incremento de la seguridad en las fronteras desde 9/11, el apruebo del Secure Fence Act del 2006 y la demanda por una reforma de immigración han hecho de la frontera sureña de la nación el punto de enfoque. Pero estos debates deshumanizan con frecuencia el lugar que tantos llaman casa.

En esta edición especial, Adelante hace un esfuerzo por atacar el tema de la immigración y los asuntos de la frontera. Mientras que algunos de los artículos fueron cubiertos desde Austin, un equipo de cuatro estudiantes de UT Austin viajó a Brownsville en búsqueda de historias personales y experiencias.

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CROSSING BORDERS: Index

News/Politics:
Passport cards – A small, more affordable substitute for families who frequently cross over
Que dicen? – UT Brownsville student activists sound off about the border wall [w/ video]
From El Salvador to Austin – UT Austin employees share their journeys
Left behind – What happens to the families of men who leave Mexico to work in the U.S.?
Presidential candidates and immigration – A look at Sens. Clinton, McCain, and Obama
Personal Essay:
You are an immigrant – A UT student from Mexico recalls her first year in Texas
Eres un immigrante – Una estudiante de México recuerda su primer año en Tejas
Features:
Border Patrol agent Doty – Patrolling the Hidalgo port of entry
No longer afraid – A landowner’s struggle [w/ video]
UTB administrator fights wall – “I think someone… drew lines on a map in a vacuum” [w/ video]
Matamoros photo essay – A day at the market in Matamoros
Feminism from the margins – A look at Latina activism
Food: Gyros restaurant – Profile of an eclectic Laredo restaurant and its unlikely owner
Short Documentary:
The Wall – How is the proposed border wall affecting residents of the Rio Grande Valley?
El Cenizo – A former colonia still scarred by a past that lacked regulation and rule of law

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May 7, 2008 at 1:46 am 1 comment

VIDEO: The Wall, an Adelante documentary

Love it or hate it, the idea of building a wall along the Texas-Mexico border to cut down on illegal immigration has gained some steam. So much so that Congress and the president made the Secure Fence Act official in 2006. The law authorizes the federal government to construct hundreds of miles of fences, walls, and other barriers along the border, from San Diego, Calif. to Brownsville, Texas. Many Americans believe this is a necessary step in protecting our nation. But how do people in Brownsville–where the proposed wall was planned to cut across public parks, private property, and even the campus of the University of Texas at Brownsville–feel about it? Adelante’s “The Wall” is a look at the effects of a border wall on the lives of Brownsville residents, including students, land owners, and border enforcement authorities.

May 6, 2008 at 2:02 pm 2 comments

You’re going to need your passport

Or a passport card that’s half the size and half the cost.

Caprice Padilla/Adelante staff
Volume II, Issue 3 (Crossing Borders)

Crossing the border is about to become more affordable and convenient. At a time when new federal regulations have placed a financial burden on U.S. citizens who depend on international fluidity for business and personal affairs, the government’s issuance of a new passport card comes as a welcomed relief to many.

The wallet size card carries the same rights and privileges as the traditional U.S. passport book, but may only be used when traveling by land or by sea, not by air. It is limited to those returning from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda.

“The passport card is designed for the specific needs of the northern and southern border resident communities,” according to the U.S. Department of State’s Web Site, http://travel.state.gov/.

A vicinity-read radio frequency identification (RFID) chip will be in all cards, allowing officials to access secure government databases containing photographs and biographical information prior to the traveler arriving at an inspection site. The chip itself will not contain any personal information; instead, a unique number will link to the databases. A protective sleeve will also be issued with the card to prevent unauthorized access while not in use.

Prior to Jan. 31, oral declarations of citizenship were permitted at border entry points, and more than 8,000 types of documents denoting citizenship were accepted.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection report, 31,060 false oral claims of U.S. and Canadian citizenship were made during the 2005-2007 fiscal years. In October through December 2007 alone, 1,517 false claims were made in an attempt to enter the U.S. illegally.

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), implemented by the Department of Homeland Security, establishes new regulations for all travel into the U.S. The air phase, already under complete enforcement, requires a passport or other valid travel document to reenter the country. The land and sea phase requires U.S. citizens to present a passport or WHTI approved document, or government issued photo identification with proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate for entry.

On June 1, 2009, the land and sea phase will be fully implemented. Travelers must have a passport book, card or WHTI compliant document to enter the U.S. Applications for the card are now being accepted; full production is expected by July.

These regulations do not apply to U.S. citizens traveling to and from U.S. territories, including American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Swains Island and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The passport cards will offer the most relief to those living on the border who travel regularly to Canada or Mexico. In particular for those who do not travel elsewhere, this less expensive option is a financial blessing.

The passport book costs $100 for adults and $85 for minors who are first time applicants, with renewal costs at $75 for adults. The passport card costs $45 for adults and $35 for minors. Adults may pay $20 for a card if a valid passport is already owned. First time applicants may also choose to pay $120 for both the passport book and card. Both are valid for 10 years for adults and five years for minors.

Border residents have been accustomed to the luxury of taking a quick drive out of the U.S. to visit family, purchasing cheaper products such as medicine and food, visiting less expensive physicians and enjoying international culture.

News of pending regulations has sent waves of anxiety among families who cannot afford to pay $85- $100 per family member for passport books to cross what used to be a free border. With passport cards costing less than half of what passport books cost, reentering the U.S. from neighboring countries will be more accessible for border residents.

First time applicants and minors must apply for passports in person at a passport agency. Many state, county, township and municipal government offices, clerks of court, post offices and public libraries accept applications on behalf of the Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. To search for the nearest facility, one may access http://iafdb.travel.state.gov/.

A passport application, proof of U.S. citizenship such as a birth certificate, proof of identity such as a photo ID, two 2X2 inch identical photographs and payment of the application fee are required.
Applications for passport renewal may be submitted by mail to the nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate, along with the most recent passport issued, two 2X2 inch identical photographs and the application fee.

Applications are typically processed within four weeks; expedited service is available.

May 6, 2008 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

Personal Narrative: You are an immigrant

Gabriela Chabolla/Adelante staff
Volume II, Issue 3 (Crossing Borders)

So you’ve reached the United States. You, a university student, middle-class Mexican with four suitcases of clothes and even the box of books you brought on a whim. You settled yourself a couple of days ago in the room you shall share with a native Texan, and now you walk with a group of recent acquaintances. You all stop in the hallway of your dorm (a building with potable water and air conditioning, of course; it’s your first encounter with the need to carry a sweater around everywhere when the temperature outside is 32 degrees Celsius –wrong, 90 degrees Fahrenheit- or face the possibility of getting sick. Goodbye, open-window nights and the bites of a million mosquitoes…).

You’ll meet new people. A stranger will come forth and the necessary introductions will be made. You will smile, take the extended hand and kiss the person’s cheek. A couple similar episodes will be necessary before you notice the second of disconcert that passes through the person’s face when your own gets closer to his than culturally appropriate. Then you will smack yourself on the forehead and, from then onwards, keep yourself at a handshake’s length.

You will go back to your room, with your roomie; meeting her boyfriend is only a matter of time. You will take advantage of the silent pact between people sharing a small space (“I don’t see anything beyond this half of the room and you don’t see anything past that half”) to discreetly observe the two people laughing and whatnot on the other side, waiting for the moment in which the individual will take his keys, say “Well…!” and leave. But as the hours go by and the moment of his going refuses to come, you get used to the idea of him staying. When it’s time to turn the lights off, the three respirations in the dark will make you go over mental images of mothers and society’s señoritas—respectable ladies—back home, conjuring saints, good customs and decency.

You will acquire the useful but incredibly dirty talent of making it seem like you understood what was said when what you actually heard was more of an auditory doodle rather than an intelligible phrase. A couple of months will be necessary before your tongue stops getting stuck in your mouth and your ears open to the syllables of the American South.

You’ll discover that familiar dishes like queso, burritos and the pico de gallo retain their original words in menus but with a “u” that sneaks in at the end when pronounced. You’ll wonder where the Es in Guadalupe and Rio Grande went.

Lemonade changes tone this side of the border; the one you order is yellow and not green. Curiously, lemon and lime translate into English in unexpected ways.
In conversations, you’ll stand there, fish-faced, as soon as cultural references are dragged in. When had you ever heard about SNL, Dave Chapelle, Bob Dylan? Where did Looney Toones, el Chavo del Ocho, tazos, hielocos (old novelties of Mexican youth) go?

You’ll get used to seeing people buy half a liter –er, a pint- of ice cream and eat it in a single go, but you’ll somehow be unable to tolerate medicine commercials. Maybe it’s the fact that the same voice that advocates for a happy and healthy life warns the viewer about unsavory reactions like vomiting and palpitations in the same velvety tones.

But these are concrete things, things you can see and that will occasionally make you laugh. As your stay here stretches on, a dimension of memories extends until covering and mingling with your presence here. You almost forget the dust, the rags that covered brown arms, the smell of buses, the crowds of people walking with corn on the cob, chamoys, shaved ice, chips, buñuelos and churros on Sundays in the plaza, the city’s doors open to midday’s warmth after wintertime and the bugambilias that decorated your city. In gas stations, you don’t see any more the shadow of two men in dirty brown jumpsuits, filling up tanks with 200, 300 pesos of gas under the green, white and red sign of monopolistic Pemex.

On the streets (infinitely different because of details; the disorder of electric cables, the amount of dusty signs in the sky, the million pieces of paper and empty soda bottles give the last brushstrokes to the Mexican street), you don’t see girls in jeans and high heels, made-up faces and hair rigorously in place, but a frequency of long hair (hair salons this side of the border also charge about five times what is usual on the other side).

You’ve integrated. You don’t have to work. You don’t even have to worry about immigration details (did I mention you were privileged?); you almost don’t even have to multiply everything by 10.50 when you’re in stores.

But you can’t deny the motive that brought you here. The knitting of the country is certainly tighter, and everything is a couple of centimeters (oops, inches) more above the ground, so to speak. You’ve been enveloped by a sense of security you didn’t have before. Abstractions don’t exist here; rules are rules, and there are no holes through which one can slide.

The buttons in the buses, the absence of sweat (not counting the intended type, in air-conditioned gyms), the padded and immediate position of things around here make you remember it less often. It’s only when you see a little sea of laptops in cafes that you think about the modest Sanborns, with its dressed-up waitresses and the little old ladies that still retain the practice of going out for coffee with their friends; or when you realize that there are no stones to stumble upon downtown, that you miss the idea of Mexico a little, some spice they put in the food, or the impression of a sort of closeness between the people.

May 6, 2008 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

Narrativa Personal: Eres una Immigrante

Gabriela Chabolla/Adelante staff
Volume II, Issue 3 (Crossing Borders)

Así que has llegado a los Estados Unidos, tú, estudiante de universidad, mexicana clase mediera con cuatro maletas de ropa y hasta la chiflazón de tus libros. Te instalaste hace un par de días en el cuarto que compartirás con una Texana nativa, y ahora caminas con un grupo de conocidos recientes. Se detienen todos en el corredor de tu dormitorio (un edificio con agua potable y aire acondicionado, por supuesto; es tu primer encuentro con la necesidad de cargar con suéter a todas partes cuando la temperatura exterior está a 32 grados Celsius -error, 90 grados Fahrenheit- o enfrentar la posibilidad de enfermarte. Adiós, noches de ventanas abiertas y picaduras de mosquitos…).

Conocerás gente nueva. Un desconocido se aproximará y las introducciones necesarias serán hechas. Sonreirás, tomarás la mano extendida y besarás la mejilla de la persona. Serán necesarias un par de ocasiones similares hasta que te des cuenta del segundo de desconcierto que pasa por la cara del nuevo conocido cuando tu cara se acerca más de lo culturalmente apropiado a la suya. Entonces te pegarás en la frente y, a partir de entonces, te mantendrás a la distancia de un apretón de manos.

Volverás a tu cuarto, con tu roomie; conocer a su novio no será más que cuestión de tiempo. Aprovecharás el pacto silencioso entre las personas compartiendo un espacio pequeño (“Yo no veo de la mitad para allá, y tú no ves de la mitad para acá”) para observar disimuladamente a las dos personas riendo y demás del otro lado, esperando a que llegue el momento en que el sujeto tome sus llaves, diga, “¡Bueno…!” y se marche. Pero conforme las horas pasan y el momento no llega, te vas amoldando a la idea, y a la hora de apagar las luces, las tres respiraciones del cuarto harán que repases en la mente la reacción de madres y de señoritas de sociedad en casa, conjurando santos, las buenas costumbres y la decencia.

Adquirirás el útil pero increíblemente sucio talento de hacerte la que entiende lo que se dice cuando lo que escuchas es más parecido a un garabato auditivo que otra cosa. Serán necesarios un par de meses antes de que tu lengua deje de atorarse en el paladar y tus oídos se abran a las sílabas del sur americano.

Descubrirás que platillos familiares como el queso, el burrito y el pico de gallo retienen su significante original en los menús, con una “u” que se cuela al final cuando se lee en voz alta. Te preguntarás a dónde se fueron las “e” en “Guadalupe” y “Río Grande”.

La limonada cambia de tonalidad de este lado de la frontera; la que ordenas es amarilla y no verde. Curiosamente, lima y limón se traducen al inglés en formas inesperadas.

En conversaciones, te quedarás viendo en cuanto las referencias culturales salgan a flote. ¿Cuándo habías escuchado tú acerca de SNL, Dave Chapelle, Bob Dylan? Dónde quedaron los Looney Toones, el Chavo del Ocho, los tazos, los hielocos?

Te acostumbrarás a ver a las personas comprar medio litro de nieve y comérsela de una sola sentada, pero de alguna forma no podrás llegar a tolerar los comerciales de medicina. Tal vez es el hecho de que la misma voz que clama por una vida feliz y saludable previene al público acerca de reacciones desagradables como vómitos y palpitaciones en los mismos tonos aterciopelados.
Pero esas son las cosas concretas, cosas que puedes ver y que ocasionalmente te hacen reír.

Conforme tu estancia aquí se alarga, una dimensión de memorias se extiende hasta cubrir y enmarañarse con tu presencia aquí. Casi olvidas el polvo, los harapos que cubrían brazos cafés, el olor de los autobuses, la multitud de gente con elotes, chamoys, raspados, fritos, buñuelos y churros, los domingos en la plaza, las puertas abiertas al calor del mediodía tras el invierno y las bugambilias que decoraban tu ciudad. En las gasolinerías, no ves más que la sombra de dos hombres en trajes sucios color café, llenando tanques de 200, 300 pesos bajo el letrero verde, blanco y rojo del monopólico Pemex.

En las calles (infinitamente diferentes por los detalles; el desorden de los cables eléctricos, la cantidad de letreros polvorientos en el cielo, los millones de papelitos y envases de refrescos en la calle dan las últimas pinceladas a la calle mexicana) no se ven más chicas en jeans y tacones, cara maquillada y cabello rigurosamente en su lugar, sino que hay una frecuencia de cabello largo (las estéticas al otro lado de la frontera cobrando alrededor de un quinto de lo se acostumbra por aquí).
Diez por ciento, quince por ciento.

Te has integrado. No tienes que trabajar. No tienes siquiera que preocuparte por los detalles de immigración (¿mencioné que eras privilegiada?); ya casi ni tienes que multiplicar todo por 10.50 en las tiendas.

Pero no puedes negar el motivo que te trajo aquí. El tejido es ciertamente más firme, y todo está a unos centímetros (oops, pulgadas) sobre del piso, por decirlo. Te ha envuelto un sentido de seguridad que no tenías antes. No existen abstracciones aquí; las reglas son las reglas, y no hay agujeros por los que uno se pueda escurrir.

Los botones en los autobuses, la ausencia del sudor (a excepción del intencional, en gimnasios acondicionados), la posición acolchonada e inmediata de las cosas por aquí hacen que lo recuerdes menos seguido de lo que podrías. Es sólo cuando ves un marecito de lap tops en los cafés y piensas en el modesto Sanborns, con sus meseras disfrazadas y las viejitas que aún retienen la costumbre de ir a tomar el café con sus amigas, o cuando te das cuenta de que no hay piedras con las cuales tropezarte en el centro, que extrañas un poco la idea de México, algún polvo que le ponen a la comida, o la impresión de una inmediacidad entre las personas.

May 6, 2008 at 1:53 pm Leave a comment

Patrolling the border with agent Doty

Agent Doty

An evening with Border agent Daniel Doty

Story: Kaitlyn Wells
Photos: Andrew Rogers
Volume II, Issue 3 (Crossing Borders)

HIDALGO, TX — Depicted as overzealous security guards by some, the United States Customs and Border Protection’s Border Patrol team provides a greater service than meets the eye.

Border Patrol agents live a rugged lifestyle while on the job, spending most of their time outdoors. For Daniel Doty, who has served for 11 years as a Border Patrol spokesperson in the Rio Grande Valley, that’s the best part.

“You see everything in this job,” said Doty, who had begun his work that morning at 4 a.m. Now nearly 15 hours later, Doty was still energized as he discussed the most recent threats he and other agents had faced.

Last month, Doty and other border patrol agents confiscated 100 pounds of cocaine. Two weeks later, they apprehended 60 individuals crossing illegally, Doty said.

“When the sun goes down, it gets very dangerous in this area,” he said. Illegal immigrants often throw pipes, rocks the size of dinner plates and any other debris they can find when attempting to ward off the agents, Doty said.

Doty has worn a uniform for 23 years, serving in several branches of law enforcement. He first donned a uniform when joining the Marine Corps in 1982 after graduating from high school. He worked as a Texas prison guard in 1984 before joining the Michigan police force in 1986.

After returning to Texas in the mid 1990s, Doty developed two working plans: to attend law school at the University of Houston or to join in on the border effort. “The Border Patrol called first,” he joked.

Border security has been at the top of the agenda for many Washington officials in the last few years, as the debate over the construction of a fence along the U.S.-Mexico Border continues.

While Doty said only the Department of Homeland Security knows what materials the actual structure will be built from, Doty describes the new security system as “border barriers,” not meant to stop, but to slow illegal immigrants down.

“Where there aren’t levees, we’ve asked for fencing; not concrete walls or anything,” he said. “It’s not to say ‘You know what, we don’t want you here,’ but it’s to identify the people coming over.”

The Border Patrol’s efforts work to protect all human life, Doty said. “I don’t want to see anyone lose their life just because they want to come here,” he said.

For Doty, who worked for a long time in Michigan, the border is a special place for him, and he truly does love his job, he said.

“I know it’s a corny saying, but we are protecting America,” he said. “We’re here to defend America, and that’s the truth.”

May 6, 2008 at 1:45 pm Leave a comment

MULTIMEDIA FEATURE: Wall threatens Zavaleta’s campus

zavaleta

Administrator’s questions pop open ‘proverbial lid’

Story: Jazmine Ulloa
Photos: Andrew Rogers
Video: A.J. Miranda
Volume II, Issue 3 (Crossing Borders)

BROWNSVILLE, TX — Tony Zavaleta found himself a little bit more than confused last year when he attended a stakeholders’ meeting at the Border Patrol Station in Harlingen as the representative for the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College.

But he also found himself at the right place at the right time.

“We had heard about a border wall, or a border fence and that it may be coming,” said Zavaleta, the vice president for external affairs for the university. “But very little, little information.”

At the meeting, which he attended as a substitute for another university official, Zavaleta said a border patrol agent announced plans for fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border for the Rio Grande Valley, as required by the Secure Fence Act of 2006.

In the Brownsville area, the agent said the fence would be built on the north side of the International Boundary and Water Commission levee, Zavaleta said.

But the International Technology, Education and Commerce campus, a branch of the university, lies south of the levee and north of the Rio Grande River. Zavaleta, who is the administrator directly responsible for that branch of campus, had plenty of questions for the agent, he said.

“Does that mean that you are going to wall off, or fence off our university?” Zavaleta he asked. “Does that mean you are going to put a Texas university on the Mexican side of the fence? Does that mean we will have to have passports to go to work? Does that mean that students will have to go through border checkpoints to get to class? What does it mean?”

Up until that point, the plans for the fence had not been challenged, Zavaleta said.

“Boy, that was the proverbial fly in the ointment,” he said. “It took the proverbial lid off the thing. The worms started crawling out of the can.”

Zavaleta’s questioning brought national media attention to the impact the fence in Brownsville. It slowed the “juggernaut” down, bringing the federal government to the table on some of the issues, he said. But a lot is left to be resolved.

Plans still have the fence running along the southern edge of the main campus, across a historic site and the university’s golf course.

“I think somebody whose job it is to draw lines on the map, drew lines on a map in a vacuum,” he said. “It’s not they’re fault, but they [government officials] admitted they had never been here.”

Judge Andrew Hanen ordered the federal government and the university last month to further discuss access to the land adjacent to Zavaleta’s international branch of the campus. Meanwhile, the fence has boosted activism throughout the community and among the student body, Zavaleta said.

Zavaleta, himself, has been questioning authority as an activist since the 1970s while studying at the University of Texas at Austin. He said he encourages students to do the same.

“That’s an important part of the university experience,” he said. “If you students who are the future of our country and our state and region cannot openly question why things are being done than who can?”

May 6, 2008 at 1:29 pm Leave a comment

MULTIMEDIA FEATURE: Tamez no longer afraid

Tamez walks down the levee.

Fighting to keep hold of a family property older than the United States

Story: A.J. Miranda
Photos: Andrew Rogers
Video: A.J. Miranda
Volume II, Issue 3 (Crossing Borders)

EL CALABOZ, TX — You don’t have to ask Eloisa Tamez twice what she thinks about the wall. In fact, you don’t even have to ask her once. She’ll tell you.

“It’s an abomination,” says Tamez, a 73-year-old administrator with the University of Texas at Brownsville. “I don’t think it’s something to be proud of, and certainly America should not be proud of it.”

Her passion for the subject became personal last year. Tamez is one of about 400 property owners in the Brownsville area whose land has been appropriated for construction of the wall. Her family has owned the property since 1767—when the U.S. was a British colony—as a result of a Spanish land grant.

Now, history is repeating for Tamez, who witnessed the property undergo similar government takeover in the 1930s when more than half of the property was seized without compensation for constructing flood levees.

Tamez has resisted, and has fought court battles as a result. Last month, Tamez was ordered to allow government surveyors onto her property. But family history aside, the issue is about more than land for Tamez.

“I’m just one person, and obviously I’m not doing a very good job of stopping the wall,” she says. “The purpose of the litigation was to force the government to follow the law, because they were not following it.”

Tamez speaks out against the wall. Tamez opens the fence surrounding her property.

She takes issue with the assertion that a large border wall is necessary to protect against terrorism, calling it “that fear factor.” Referring to the 9/11 attacks, Tamez says, “We here in the Valley know that the terrorists didn’t come through the southern border.” They came legally, with passports, she says.

And though she agrees that drug smuggling is a problem, Tamez does not foresee a fence on her property stopping or even slowing the drug trade.

“My giving up my one little acre is not going to stop something that governments haven’t been able to stop for decades,” she says. “They’ve been working on this and they don’t seem to agree.”

The first thing one might notice while glancing at the property is that multiple fences, locked with chains, surround it. But Tamez quickly dismisses any questions about conflicting views when asked how she can so fervently fight a government fence when similar barriers protect her property.

“This is a fence,” she says, glancing at the humble chest-high structure. She points toward the levee and says, “That’s going to be a wall; that’s the difference.”

May 6, 2008 at 1:09 pm Leave a comment

PHOTO ESSAY: A story from the other side

market

A day at the market in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, the city across the river with an estimated population of 422,000

Story: Jazmine Ulloa
Photos: Andrew Rogers
Volume II, Issue 3 (Crossing Borders)

MATAMOROS, TAMAULIPAS — Hector Elizondo just took the long drive from Buffalo, Texas back to his home in Matamoros, Mexico, Saturday night. But you wouldn’t be able to tell by the hearty smile he offers approaching customers at his friends’ fruit stands the next morning.

The cheery semi-trailer truck driver has been behind the wheel on and off for the last 20 years and owns a parking lot a block down from a crowded vendors’ street. When he’s not watching over his lot, he visits with the vendors.

Driving cargo between Mexico and the United States, Elizondo sometimes visits his two teenage daughters living in Virginia. “It’s like I get paid to see my family,” he smiles.

While he is a U.S. resident, he’d offer his home in Matamoros to anyone willing to experience a little of the city he loves so much, Elizondo says.“I live very well here,” he says as a matter-of-factly, “I may not have much, but I live well.”

May 6, 2008 at 12:59 pm Leave a comment

Que Dicen? Student activists sound off [w/ video]

Adelante Q&A: Student activists at UT Brownsville

canales

Crystal Canales
Psychology, Sociology,
Social Work, undergraduate

Canales first heard the border fence could cut across her campus when attending meetings held by Students for Peace and Change, a student organization. “A couple of weeks later I was holding a sign at a protest,” she said.

Border fence/wall/levee, what do you call it? Why?
I call it a wall just because even if people like to think that it is going to be some kind of peaceful fence, it basically symbolizes a refusal to keep communicating with the person or the people we seem to be having problems with, and that’s not a way to solve anything. So by calling it a wall, I am just calling it what it is and what it represents.

What, if any, impacts do you think the fence will have on the community?
There are so many to list, you could put them into so many different categories. There are environmental impacts, not just on the vegetation but also on the wildlife. And not just one species, not just a couple or a group, there are literally hundreds of species that would become extinct. And if you want to look at it from a socioeconomic standpoint, tourism would go down incredibly because of that and also because nobody is going to pay lots of money to come down here to see a wall instead of the river, which is part of our community, some would argue the heart of our community. That’s what brings us together: people crossing the river—and whether you do it to go see your family or to experience a different culture, that’s part of the reason that makes this the Valley, that’s part of the reason that makes this la frontera. More than that, the civil rights issues would be the main impact, and it really is going to be a militarization of the border. People say that it is not going to be like the Berlin Wall, but the truth is that it is because it is being built for, at heart, the same reason—we want to keep a certain people out of our country. And you can look at it from a standpoint of racism, you can look at it from a standpoint of economics, you can look at it from a standpoint of border security, either way, it all comes down to that; these people we don’t want to keep in our country, and we are doing everything possible to keep them out of it. We’re taking away their rights whether they are documented or undocumented residents, we are taking away the rights of the citizens here because our freedom is being compromised. The way Michael Chertoff has put it is, ‘You need to sacrifice for your country.’ What makes us really upset is that if government and all the laws that they have had haven’t been able to stop illegal immigration, how is these people making a sacrifice going to stop that? How is it fair to ask anyone of that?

villareal

Stephanie Villareal
Psychology, Government
Undergraduate

Born and raised on the border, Villareal is involved with Student Government and is the president of the Young Democrats on campus. “I wanted to get the full experience of the border life, and I don’t want that to be sacrificed for future generations to come,” she said.

Are there any positive effects about building the border fence?
I guess being down here—it’s easier to be biased toward the other side. Even here on campus, there have been people putting out letters to the editor in the Valley Morning Star and the Brownsville-Herald saying that the [Student Government Association] doesn’t speak for them. It’s not that we don’t speak for them; we completely understand that there are people who do favor the wall. There is so much that could be said on the affirmative side of it, and there is so much on the negative side. But we have to be able to look at it from a perspective that is right here in front of our eyes and understand how much of a negative environmental impact it will have on our native plants that have been preserved for so many years.

acuna

Mariano Acuña
Respiratory Therapy
undergraduate

Acuña is from Mexico but attends school in Brownsville. “My home is Brownsville, my home is Matamoros,” he said.

Do you a fence will have an impact on people who commute daily between border cities?
I don’t feel a fence is the adequate solution, and Congress should think more thoroughly about how the fence will affect the people living here in the Valley. In Mexico, you don’t hear much about it, it’s easier to keep it hushed over there. But I think the fence will affect [Mexico] in one way or another because the people living in Matamoros have family living in Brownsville and vice versa, and that’s not just Brownsville and Matamoros; it’s that way all along the border. We have the border; you have to cross with your visas and documents, but it’s also the place where you live. If you put a fence, it’s like you are affecting relationships with your family and your society.

VIDEO: Que Dicen?

May 6, 2008 at 12:46 pm Leave a comment

From El Salvador to Austin: UT employees share their journeys

Journey map
Eduardo Gonzalez/ Adelante staff
Volume II, Issue 3 (Crossing Borders)

Not all Hispanic workers are Mexican.

After Mexico, most immigrant workers come from El Salvador. There were 44,252,278 Hispanics in the United States in 2006, according to the most recent online statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. Out of this number, 1,371,666 were Salvadorian. Since then, the number has increased because of widespread poverty, crime, natural disasters and wars in the region.

“I left El Salvador in 1998,” Tomás, who asked for his real name not to be used, said in Spanish. “I came because life there is very difficult and there are not many resources. I was only looking for a better life.”

To get to the U.S., Tomás crossed three borders, in Guatemala, Mexico and the United States. He walked 12 hours through the Sonora Desert in Arizona to get to a number of vans waiting to take immigrants to Los Angeles. After 15 days of travel, he reached American soil. For Tomás, this was just an adventure. He never thought he’d actually make it.

Now 10 years later, he has gained legal citizenship and works as a staff member for the Division of Housing and Food Service at the University of Texas at Austin.

Ana, another staff member for the same department who asked that her name not be used, left El Salvador at 3 a.m. a few years later. She took a bus to Guatemala where she slept in a hotel with four strangers for two nights. They took another bus to the Mexican border and secretly crossed into Quintana Roo, where they waited for a trailer that was taking jeans to Piedras Negras. The trailer, which was driven by her family member, had beds hidden inside the driver’s cabin.

When they reached Piedras Negras after eight days of traveling, Mexican police stopped the driver to inspect the vehicle. Huddled in fear, Ana and the others hid as silently as they could. Officials banged the sides of the trailer, even emptied it of its contents to make sure no one was inside the cargo trailer.

“If we moved or made a sound, they’d catch us,” she said. “They didn’t find us and that’s how we were able to continue.”

They were to cross the river in Piedras Negras to get to Eagle Pass, but heavy flooding delayed them 15 days. When the water level went down, they reached the river’s shore and hid among the brushes until nightfall. A rope was attached to the other side of the riverbank and Ana held on as she attempted to cross.

“At the middle of the river, I stopped feeling the earth under my feet and could feel things flowing between my legs,” she said. “I nearly drowned. When I finally crossed, I changed my clothes and walked along the shore of the river until I got to a park.”
At the park, she waited for five hours until a small car picked her up and took her to a large house in San Antonio that trafficked immigrants.

“There were about 100 people in the house,” she said. “They separated the men from the women. A friend picked me up and took me with her to Waco.”

It has been tough, both Tomás and Ana said. Looking for jobs and working odd jobs, while at the same time dealing with the language barrier and discrimination because of their dark skin color. Tomás was constantly stopped by police and questioned without reason, he said. At Ana’s jobs, people would call her arrastrada Mexicana, closely meaning ragged Mexican woman.
“I would say to them, look, I am not Mexican, and I am not a ragged woman,” she said. “I come here to work.”

May 6, 2008 at 12:42 pm 1 comment

Feminism from the margins

Story coming soon.

May 6, 2008 at 12:38 pm Leave a comment

Left behind on the ‘other side’

Jessa Lauren Hollett / Adelante staff
Volume II, Issue 3 (Crossing Borders)

A smiling man in his late thirties, with wrinkles around his eyes, plucks up the chubby 2-year-old baby crawling past him on the dirt floor. The little boy is his nephew, the son of a brother who left behind his home and family to work in the United States for a time. The baby, Jesús, better known as “Chuy Chiquito,” Little Chuy, begins to squirm.

The adults, seated in broken plastic chairs on a packed dirt patio, are talking about the mass exodus of working-age men from their rural village in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. Most men in the area have been to the United States at least once, where they work illegally in low-skill jobs that pay more than any opportunity their homeland could offer them.

“And you?” the man asks Little Chuy in Spanish baby talk. “Are you going to stay here in Mexico when you grow up?”

Little Chuy, still squirming, answers this question the same way he answers everything else; with a decided “No!” An answer which, though uninformed, is most likely correct.

According to a study conducted from 1997-2002 by the Center for Planning and Strategic Investment, the state of Guanajuato lost approximately 5.4 percent of their population in those years to what they call “El Otro Lado,” The Other Side.

Although it is very difficult to estimate and find how many people exactly have left their homes, it is apparent there are many men (as well as some women and entire families) that are missing from the area. Everyone knows at least one person in their family, or a close friend, who is missing their husband, their father, their brothers or uncles or cousins, in the name of a better life.

There has been much deliberation about the plight of the poor in Mexico in recent months. The majority of discussion focuses around the immigrants themselves. But what about their families; the mothers they leave behind; the wives they leave behind; the children they leave behind?
Mari, a 26-year-old mother of three, who–like all the women interviewed–asked that her last name not be printed, lives alone with her children in a cinderblock house in a small rural community in the state of Guanajuato. Her husband works on a strawberry farm in California, sending money back in monthly letters that she says describe long hours in the heat, no days off, and hard labor that leaves him exhausted. The money he has sent back has been used to build a cinderblock wall in the front of the house that was once a lean-to line of reeds.

“The house was not big enough for us and all three of our babies,” Mari said in Spanish, rocking the youngest in a rope hammock that served as a cradle. “With the money he was earning here in Mexico, we only had enough so we could eat, but nothing more. The money he earns in California is a little bit more; enough that we will one day be able to add rooms to the house and pay for our children to go to school.”

In spite of how proud she is of the cinderblock wall, Mari says she would rather have her husband at home than a bigger house.

“I am very lonely and sad here without him,” Mari said. “And it is easy to see that the children miss him; when they talk to him on the phone, they ask him to come home and they sometimes cry.”

Edith, a 22-year-old mother of one, also worries about her husband missing out on watching their daughter grow.

“I am worried because my little one doesn’t know her father,” Edith said. “When he returns, she’s not going to know him. And I am worried that the money he is making is not enough to make it worth it to have never known our daughter when she was small.”

Edith lives in a rural village in Guanajuato with her parents and younger siblings. Her husband left for the U.S. about two years ago, where he works in construction and gardening. Their daughter, 3-year-old Montserrat, was less than a year old when he left. They are unsure of when he will return.

“He left because we wanted a better life, for us, for our daughter,” Edith said. “Later, when he comes back, we will live a better life. We just have to wait.”

Pablo, a 7-year-old boy who lives in the city of San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato, has not seen his father for two years. Pablo’s father left for the United States to work in construction, and plans on returning later this year, though that is not certain. Pablo’s sister, four-year-old Sofi, has no real memory of their father.

“I miss him a lot,” Pablo said. “But people who go to work on the Other Side can buy bigger houses, or another house, or a nice car. In fact, I want to go there to work when I’m old enough.”
In a recent study conducted by Save the Children Mexico, children with immigrant family members were asked, “How do you feel when people in your family go to work in the United States?” The majority of the children surveyed answered that they felt worried (63 percent) and sad (61 percent). Only 11.2% of the children surveyed said they felt happy.

According to León Rodriguez Garcia, a pedagogy expert who works in local schools in rural Guanajuato, many children idealize the migrant life after seeing that returned migrants have bigger houses, nicer clothes and big trucks with loud speakers.

“They want those nice and expensive things,” Rodriguez said. “They forget that those men had to leave behind their families to earn that.”

Carlos Foulkes of Save the Children Mexico also says that the children of Guanajuato are not interested in staying behind to live and work in the countryside.

“Their family is connected to the land, to Mexico,” Foulkes said. “But they want to move up; they are uninterested by life there in the countryside.”

Foulkes also said that rural Mexico is a very “machista” society, in which women are made to feel like less than the men. As a result, the families that are left behind, that are lacking men, are viewed as less in the community. Rodriguez agrees that the “macho” society of the areas affected by immigration can be devastating to children lacking a paternal figure.

“I have noticed this with bullies in schools,” Rodriguez said. “You find out that the most aggressive kids are often fatherless. They feel that they have to prove that they are still tough, even though they were raised by a woman alone. Even though they miss their fathers terribly.”
Edith is also very concerned that the immigrants working in the United States are often paid less than a fair wage, sometimes less than the legal minimum wage, in their labor-intensive jobs.

According to various studies, most Mexican migration to the U.S. follows a similar pattern: The immigrants are usually working-age men from rural areas, though with passing years, the immigrants are leaving at younger ages and a substantial number of women have also chosen to immigrate to the U.S. to work. About half return periodically to visit their families. However, the vast majority of Mexican immigrants are only in the U.S. for a set period of time, eventually returning.

“They are just there because they need to earn money to help their families,” Edith said. “If all they are given is the bare minimal pay, they’ll just be there longer.”

exhausted. The money he has sent back has been used to build a cinderblock wall in the front of the house that was once a lean-to line of reeds.

“The house was not big enough for us and all three of our babies,” Mari said in Spanish, rocking the youngest in a rope hammock that served as a cradle. “With the money he was earning here in Mexico, we only had enough so we could eat, but nothing more. The money he earns in California is a little bit more; enough that we will one day be able to add rooms to the house and pay for our children to go to school.”

She is proud of the cinderblock wall, but Mari says she would rather have her husband at home.
“I am very lonely and sad here without him,” Mari said. “And its easy to see that the children miss him; when they talk to him on the phone, they ask him to come home and sometimes cry.”
Edith, a 22-year-old mother of one, also worries about her husband missing out on watching their daughter grow.

“I am worried because my little one doesn’t know her father,” Edith said. “When he returns, she’s not going to know him. And I am worried that the money he is making is not enough to make it worth it to have never known our daughter when she was small.”

Edith lives in a rural village in Guanajuato with her parents and younger siblings. Her husband left for the U.S. about two years ago, where he works in construction and gardening. Their daughter, 3-year-old Montserrat, was less than a year old when he left. They are unsure of when he will return.

In a recent study conducted by Save the Children Mexico, children with immigrant family members were asked, “How do you feel when people in your family go to work in the United States?” The majority of the children surveyed answered that they felt worried (63 percent) and sad (61 percent). Only 11.2 percent of the children surveyed said they felt happy.

According to León Rodriguez Garcia, a pedagogy expert who works in local schools in rural Guanajuato, many children idealize the migrant life after seeing that returned migrants have bigger houses, nicer clothes and big trucks with loud speakers.

“They want those nice and expensive things,” Rodriguez said. “They forget that those men had to leave behind their families to earn that.”

Carlos Foulkes of Save the Children Mexico says that Guanajuato children aren’t interested in staying in the countryside.

“Their family is connected to the land, to Mexico,” Foulkes said. “But they want to move up.”
Foulkes also said that rural Mexico is a very “machista” society, in which women are made to feel less than the men. As a result, the families that are left behind, that are lacking men, are viewed as less in the community. Rodriguez agrees that the “macho” society of the areas affected by immigration can be devastating to children lacking a paternal figure.

“I have noticed this with bullies in schools,” Rodriguez said. “You find out that the most aggressive kids are often fatherless. They feel that they have to prove that they are still tough, even though they were raised by a woman alone. Even though they miss their fathers terribly.”
According to various studies, most Mexican migration to the U.S. follows a similar pattern: The immigrants are usually working-age men from rural areas, though with passing years, the immigrants are leaving at younger ages and a substantial number of women have also chosen to immigrate to the U.S. to work. About half return periodically to visit their families. However, the vast majority of Mexican immigrants are only in the U.S. for a set period of time, eventually returning.

“They are just there because they need to earn money to help their families,” Edith said. “If all they are given is the bare minimal pay, they’ll just be there longer.”

May 6, 2008 at 12:36 pm Leave a comment

Candidates call for immigration reform

Clinton, McCain, Obama

Eva Romero / Adelante staff
Volume II, Issue 3 (Crossing Borders)

Although the heated arguments and constant blows between the three remaining presidential candidates have shown the public plenty of their differences, there is one issue that both Democrat and Republican nominees can agree on: the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

With nearly 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. today, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, the subject of illegal immigration has been one of the hottest issues in the current presidential election.

According to the National Center for Immigration Studies, illegal emigration from Mexico has been prevalent as early as the 1950s, with 1965 later becoming the year of immigration expansionism. Decades later, the rapid rise in illegal immigration is something just about everyone has an opinion about.

While some accuse illegal immigrants of stealing opportunities from legal immigrants and U.S. citizens, others applaud them for holding jobs many Americans are not willing to work. With the current construction of a 700-mile fence on the U.S./Mexico border, citizens of South Texas and Southwestern U.S., including students at the University of Texas at Brownsville, are worried that their way of life will be disrupted.

“There is a smart way to protect our borders, and there is a dumb way to protect our borders,” said Hillary Clinton at the University of Texas at Austin Democratic presidential debate in February. “UT-Brownsville will have part of its campus cut off. This is the kind of absurdity we’re getting from this administration. When [Obama and myself] voted for this, we were voting for the possibility that where it was appropriate and made sense, it would be considered.”

But efforts to curb illegal immigration have not slowed the pace of illegal immigrants coming into the country, according to a report done by the Pew Hispanic Center. Instead, such efforts are causing illegal immigrants to stay longer in the U.S. because it is more difficult to move back and forth across the border.

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John McCain have all backed comprehensive immigration reform and Guest Worker programs that will provide resident status for working aliens and their families.

“We have to stop illegal immigration, but we’ve had waves throughout our history. In Washington DC, go to the Vietnam War Memorial and look at the names engraved in black granite. You’ll find a whole lot of Hispanic names. They have enriched our culture and our nation as every generation of immigrants before them,” said McCain at a 2007 Republican debate.

For decades, the term “illegal immigrant” has conjured images of Mexicans picking fruits from trees and cleaning up hotel rooms in the minds of the American public. Indeed, a vast majority of undocumented workers hold jobs in low-skill, low-wage positions, with more than half working in construction, manufacturing or hospitality. Most of these jobs pay the minimum wage or less, giving the average illegal immigrant a yearly income of no more than $18,000.

Many Americans can’t understand why illegal immigrants are willing to risk their safety and freedom in order to work menial jobs. The answer, to seek opportunity for themselves and their families, is often repeated, but just how well do we understand it?

According to a 1996 World Bank report, at least one-fourth of Mexicans earn around $1 to $2 dollars per day, with many earning less. The average annual income is around USD $2,000, however, the poorest 40% of the population receive only $550 annually.

“Income varies widely in different economic zones of Mexico, and while not every Mexican worker is desperately poor, it is often the poor and determined ones that make their way to the U.S.,” said Jorge Borjas, a government and professor at Harvard university and author of several books concerning illegal immigration.

In Borjas’ book “Friends or Strangers: The Impact of Immigrants on the U.S. Economy,” he argues that while Americans benefit from lower prices for meals, produce and construction, illegal immigrants are viewed as more of a drain to government.

Regardless of the benefits and consequences behind illegal immigration, the ill treatment of aliens, such as Operation Endgame which plans to detain and deport all aliens living in the U.S. by 2012, remains a big issue in the upcoming presidential election. Legal and illegal Mexican immigrants, along with American citizens, are likely to experience the effects of the plan, whether it is through the $94 billion needed to fund it, mass deportations of undocumented workers and their families, or discrimination of legal Mexicans living in the U.S.

Now it seems that comprehensive immigration reform will soon become a reality regardless of which candidate gets elected. John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have all expressed a need for border patrol increases and detention capacity for illegal aliens apprehended while crossing the border.

“We need stronger enforcement on the border and at the workplace,” said Barack Obama. “But for reform to work, we also must respond to what pulls people to America… where we can reunite families, we should. Where we can bring in more foreign-born workers with the skills our economy needs, we should.”

Photos courtesy: hillaryclinton.com, johnmccain.com, and barackobama.com

May 6, 2008 at 12:31 pm Leave a comment

One-man show: Coahuila native a Laredo restaurant success

Gyros exterior

photos by A.J. Miranda

Accounting Graduate Turned Restaurateur

A.J. Miranda / Adelante staff
Volume II, Issue 3 (Crossing Borders)

LAREDO, TX — The most important steps Miguel Requena took on the day of his university graduation were not the steps leading to the stage to collect his accounting diploma. In fact, Requena never took those steps.

Requena, a 25-year-old graduate of Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas, skipped his own graduation ceremony, instead choosing to walk to the front door of his new north Laredo restaurant – a small yet classy strip mall taquería called Gyros.

“The day that I opened here,” Requena says in Spanish, tapping at the surface of a glossy faux-granite tabletop, “was the day of my graduation. So I did not go to my graduation.”

“This was my graduation,” Requena says, casually switching between Spanish and English. A native of Coahuila, Mexico, Requena has lived off and on in the U.S. since participating in a foreign exchange program during his senior year of high school in 1998.

That college graduation day was May 13, 2006. He spent most of his final semester forming a business plan, securing loans, filing for permits and constructing most of the inside of the 1,000-square-feet space.

He was happy to own a business, but the first six months saw Requena losing lots of money and sleep, while gaining stress and unpaid bills. Gyros had only two other employees: his girlfriend and a cook. Requena acted as a waiter, cook, dishwasher, accountant and all-around handyman.

“I was like a one-man show,” he says in English.

Now – two years and a booming business later – the stocky, clean-cut Requena smiles wide when he recounts the story. “Now, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he says.

Gyros interior

The idea of being his own boss appealed to Requena in January 2006. He saw many of his friends graduate, only to have trouble finding work. He knew he wanted to start a business but did not know which kind.

“It was an economic decision,” Requena says about opening a restaurant. He had no chef or restaurant experience, but he had one certainty: “What do people need everyday? They need food.”

Gyros is an unusual name for a taco shop, but then it is not the usual taquería.

The sign outside is spelled in a type style reminiscent of the Greek alphabet. If not for the big painted letters advertising tacos on the floor-to-ceiling windows, one might assume it is anything but a Mexican restaurant.

“Eighty percent of the people who come here, they say, ‘I saw the sign and I did not know what this was,’ ” Requena says.

No Greek or Mediterranean food is served at Gyros. The menu is a collection of recipes from friends and family from Monterrey and Coahuila. Requena took the name Gyros because he liked the idea that people in another part of the world eat what is essentially a taco, wrapped in pita bread instead of a tortilla.

The restaurant has a clean, simplistic layout and design with glossy tables and light muted green ceramic tiles. The ceiling is high and the walls are plain white, though decorated with pictures of Gyros’ lunch plates.

Requena prides himself on his personal service. The restaurant now employs eight people, but Requena still spends most of the day serving and overseeing the cooks. The one duty he absolutely has to do himself is to make the marinade for the al pastor tacos, a staple of the Gyros menu.

The economic genius behind selling tacos, he says, is that it only requires four basic meats (pork, chicken, sirloin, beef) and three types of tortillas (corn, flour, wheat). Toss in assorted toppings, such as pineapple and cheese, for variety.

“You do the permutations, and the combinations are endless,” he says. Always thinking like an accountant.

Gyros food

Some Gyros favorites include the al pastor super taco and the Hawaiiana – a pastor taco with the above-mentioned pineapple and melted cheese. A lunch plate, which includes six al pastor tacos with borracho beans, goes for $4.99.

The tacos en lechuga were also his idea. These consist of al pastor pork wrapped in lettuce leaves instead of tortillas.

“It is for the guilty people,” Requena says with a chuckle.

Though the first year was rough, Requena says that his business is now successful and he is getting more sleep than he did this time last year. He never spent a dollar on advertising; word of mouth has been Requena’s friend.

Requena says his plate is full for now with owning and managing one restaurant, but he has not ruled out starting another business sooner rather than later.

“In another year, we’ll see,” he says.

————————————————

This story has been corrected from the print version: Requena’s graduation date was May 13, 2006, not May 24. Also, the restaurant’s listed size was converted from meters to feet.

May 5, 2008 at 10:25 am Leave a comment

VIDEO: El Cenizo, Texas

El Cenizo, Texas was founded in 1983 as a colonia, or unincorporated subdivision outside of city regulation. It incorporated a few years later, but the damage was done. Colonias have a history of being hastily developed (sometimes even lacking basic plumbing) and marketed to recent immigrants and the poor. In this 5-minute video, we look at how El Cenizo fares in 2008. For more information on colonias in Texas, read University of Texas professor Peter M. Ward’s book Colonias and Public Policy in Texas and Mexico: Urbanization by Stealth.

May 4, 2008 at 6:32 pm Leave a comment

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