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American Pride Falls Due To Donald Trump

EPN - Border Analysis - Sun, 06/21/2020 - 10:00pm
Donald Trump ran on the slogan that he was out to Make America Great Again. Trump bemoaned how America had fallen because of his predecessor and thus embarked to bring American prowess back. Americans have been known for their pride in America. “I am an American and I have rights” is mocked by others when… Read More American Pride Falls Due To Donald Trump
Categories: Local Blogs

1996 Interview with ZaZa Montenegro – Sas Mija!

El Paso News - Sun, 06/21/2020 - 3:00pm
A message from Zaza in 2020:  Oscar Wilde said, ‘the one charm of the past is that it is in the past.” Things have certainly changed and improved for the LGBTQ family in the intervening 24 years and that is as it should be. Zaza Montenegro took the name from Sasha Montenegro, the famous Mexican… Read More 1996 Interview with ZaZa Montenegro – Sas Mija!
Categories: Local Blogs

RumpToons No: 190

EPN - Border Analysis - Sat, 06/20/2020 - 10:00pm
I hope you enjoy RumpToons No: 190!
Categories: Local Blogs

Daughter talks with mother about her activism in 1980’s Mexico democracy movement

Borderzine - Fri, 06/19/2020 - 3:06pm

In the summer of 2019, undergraduate journalism students from the University of Texas at El Paso and Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juarez collaborated to record personal stories of the border.

In the 1980s, the elections in Mexico were full of fraud, causing mass protests. One of the strongest movements occurred in the state of Chihuahua. Ana Sofia Rey interviewed her mother Monica about the fight for democracy in Ciudad Juarez.


Ana Sofia: Tell me a little more about the protests in Ciudad Juárez.

Monica: It was a group of people who were dissatisfied. They began to manifest. We were tired of having our vote be mocked, of it not being respected. I remember that in 1985 I was a box representative. One of the things that, in training to be a city representative, warned us was: Do not accept food from anyone. Because in other years, what they would do is that they would offer  food and in the food and drinks they would put laxatives. The representatives of the party would then have to constantly go to teh restroom beacus eof necessity, obvisouly, it was then that they would take advanatge and alter the ballots.

With protests, they would tell us, “when you’re out in the street, at one o’clock, wherever you are, stop your car and step out of it for one minute. At one o’clock the city would stop, we would get out of the car and stand there outside of the car. And once the moment would pass, “boom” we would climb back in. 

Another of the protests was the taking of the bridges. The Cordova bridge, the international bridge, also the Santa Fe bridge. We would go and sit on the bridge. I mean, there were a lot of people. People who slept there, because that was also an economic loss for the city. But it was a way of pressuring the government.

There was also the “charolazo”. They would come out hitting a pan with a spoon. Hitting, hitting, making noise. That was the point, for the government to turn and see the dissatisfaction of what we were living.

In 1986 in the parade on November 20, my aunts, my mom, and my aunt arrived crying because they had been gassed with pepper gas in their faces in order to move them. My mother says that there was a policeman who said to her, “lady, get up, leave.” I mean the police themselves got it, they were intimidated by the bravery of the women. And they remained firm.

There was the march of silence too. It was going with a candle or just walking in silence. It was an awesome adrenaline. It was to believe that the union could change the system.

Ana Sofia: What do you think Ciudad Juarez is missing?

Monica: I’m convinced that Jesus was killed beacuse he was revolutionary, because he couldn’t shut up and got involved. That’s what we lack. Commitment. Take off a little of the comfort we live in. We know things happen and we prefer to shut up. It scares us.

Ana Sofia: But, for example, now as a mom. How would you feel that for example I start to participate again in things like that or visiting houses in areas that we know violence is very strong.

Monica: As a mom, you do get scared. But as a committed woman, I would support you. I will be the one who will always support you. I do not believe in passivity. I hate passivity. I would never stop you. Despite all the consequences, I would suffer them with you. I would follow you and tell you “go ahead.” Do not stop.


Categories: Local Blogs

A conversation with maquila workers when a company closes

Borderzine - Fri, 06/19/2020 - 2:45pm

In the summer of 2019, UTEP and UACJ collaborated to record personal stories from both sides of the border. In this conversation we hear the experience of two workers. Ana Belen Sanchez and Claudia Rivas worked in a maquila operated by North American Communications, known as NAMS in Juarez.

In March 2019, the plant closed abruptly, leaving more than 600 people unemployed.


Ana Belen: My name is Ana Belen Sanchez, I’m 29 years old.

Claudia: I’m Claudia Rivas, I’m 42 years old.

Ana Belen: What was your last job?

Claudia: My last job was at the NAMS company. I started there in April 29, 2010. There we would make letters or correspondence for the United States or promotions for stores.

Ana Belen: We worked for customers like Chase, Gerber, who are well known, American Express.

Claudia: What I liked most was coexistence. We all had a lot of years there and knew each other. We already knew how many children we had, the days we rested, what we did, we didn’t talk about it. When we saw this company that left, that was what was hardest for us, knowing that we were all going to separate.

We saw that they took machinery, the best machinery in all areas, in the whole process. The human resources manager, he told us not to make a fuss about it, that nothing was going to happen.

Ana Belen: On Thursday they announced, right, that we will be given Friday, March 8 and Monday, March 11, as days off in gratitude for all our work. So, all the people left to their homes really happy.

Claudia: We were going to make a meal together when we started getting messages saying to “come to the company they are taking out machinery.” And since we were near, we quickly went and there were already several co-workers there. They were in fact taking out some trailers and some boxes.

Ana Belen: Then one of my co-workers approaches me, “Belen, the truck coordinator just called me and she told me that the trucks will not pass tomorrow.” And so I call her right there with her and a boy says, “no ma’m your maquila is screwed, they left already.” And everything was outside and we were waiting for them to open and the guard tells us, “No, there are instructions to not let you pass.”

Claudia: That week was pure horror. Because there was nothing, absolutely no work.

Ana Belen: We practically stayed stuck in everything.

Claudia: In everything. Many people who, say, had loans or had planned to give their daughter a 15 year old party, none of that could be done.

Ana Belen: In fact, there were couples who worked there, that is, two incomes.

Claudia: The husband and wife there.

Ana Belen: And they were left with nothing.

Claudia: If they saw right now what we are all going through, that many of us did not find employment. If you arrive and tell the person who is hiring, “I have come to be hired,” “Oh yes, what was your last job?” “Well, I worked at NAMS,” “No, because you have a labor demand and we don’t want the ones from NAMS here.” As if we were the ones to blame. It was the company that left and left us without work. The debt they have with us amounts to a lot.

Ana Belen: The settlement is very large. 80 million pesos is a lot. It is something we are all waiting for. And many people are already very desperate.

Categories: Local Blogs

What the Supreme Court’s DACA ruling means for El Pasoans

Borderzine - Fri, 06/19/2020 - 1:42pm

by Elida S. Perez, El Paso Matters

An El Paso man who has been allowed to stay in the United States under the Obama administration’s DACA program celebrated a Supreme Court decision Thursday that allowed the program to continue. But he also noted he and other people who came to the United States as children without legal authorization still face an uncertain future.

“At the end of the day we just don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. It’s hard living on a tightrope,” said David Gamez, 24.

Josue Tayub is a 36-year-old DACA recipient and nurse who works in the intensive care unit at an El Paso hospital. He has cared for both COVID-19 patients and victims of the Aug. 3 mass shooting.

“I’m happy, I’m super excited. It feels like I can do what I love to do, what I want to do with my life — for now,” said Tayub, who came to the United States as a child from Yucatan, Mexico. Hear more from Josue Tayub

David Gamez of El Paso is a DACA recipient studying to become a software engineer. (Photo courtesy of David Gamez)

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that the Trump administration had acted in an “arbitrary and capricious manner in 2017 when it ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program instituted by the Obama administration in 2012. That program protected from deportation those people who came to the country as children, so long as they followed a set of rules.

“It is a great day for DACA status holders. While this is not a definitive protection of the DACA program, the program lives, and we continue the fight to ensure permanent protection for all Dreamers, and we will joyfully continue to help DACA status holders renew their status,” said Melissa M. Lopez, an attorney and executive director of El Paso’s Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services.

El Paso Catholic Bishop Mark Seitz said the ruling, along with recent protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, raise hopes for a more just society.

“Let us continue to work for justice and storm the halls of heaven with prayer, until the dreams of all of our sisters and brothers, documented and undocumented, are set free from cages of fear and indifference, and all of us can take our rightful place at the table of fraternal love,” Seitz said in a statement.

DACA history

The Obama administration implemented DACA after Congress had failed for years to provide protection for “Dreamers,” those who entered the United States as children. Polling has shown widespread support for such legislation, though many Republicans oppose any change in immigration law they view as “amnesty.”

The Supreme Court ruling made clear that the Trump administration could again rescind DACA if it used a process that complied with the law. The ruling made clear that only Congress could provide permanent protection from deportation for Dreamers.

More than 900,000 people have received protection under DACA, including more than 100,000 in Texas and 1,500 in El Paso.

DACA recipients respond

Gamez said he’s puzzled by the failure to permanently normalize the status of people like himself.

“It’s just very confusing because I feel like there’s been so much investing into us that the American people should be able to cash out on the investment they have made on us so far,” he said. “We are very well educated people, we have worked so hard to provide positivity for the country.”

His mother brought him to the United States when he was 10 years old, after their home in Cancun was destroyed by a hurricane.

“It’s so scary for her because we dropped everything to come out here. We have given it our all to earn a place here,” Gamez said.

He is studying to become a software engineer and currently works for a solar company. “I’m a  taxpaying, law-abiding citizen.”

Gamez vows to push forward, despite the continuing uncertainty over his future, and urges other DACA recipients to do the same.

“I think it’s very important for Dreamers to keep focused on what they are doing. At the end of the day, our mind is the strongest weapon against oppression,” he said.

Mario Carrillo, an El Pasoan now living in Austin, is married to a DACA recipient, Angelica Rodriguez.

“I think today’s decision brings some peace of mind knowing that the program can remain not only for myself and for Angie, but also for a lot of DACA recipients who will either be able to renew or will be able to fully apply for the first time,” Carrillo said.

Rodriguez said DACA allowed her to graduate from college and begin a career.

“It allowed me to obtain a job, help my family financially, help my sister cover some of her tuition. It allowed me to purchase a car, travel across the states; not out of the country, but at least feeling a little bit more secure,” she said.

DACA recipient Itzel Campos. (Photo courtesy of Border Network for Human Rights)

Itzel Campos, 19, has been living in El Paso for 13 years, after her family moved from Torreon, Mexico. Her DACA approval was set to expire in November, but she now hopes to be able to renew it so she can continue working and helping her family.

“My permission expires in November and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to reapply, so I thought they would be able to take me out (of the country) at any moment, at any point,” Campos said. “Right now I’m very happy to know that it will stay intact.”

Wide range of leaders praise decision

El Paso business, political education, religious and human rights leaders celebrated Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling and encouraged Congress to extend permanent protection to DACA recipients.

“The Supreme Court did not necessarily protect DACA in any way. They state that the way it was ended was contrary to our laws,” said Linda Rivas, an attorney and executive director of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center. “The reality is the administration could try and end it and do it differently this time.”

An unanswered question is whether the Trump administration must reopen DACA to new recipients in the wake of Thursday’s ruling.

“We’re ready as an organization, we are ready to move forward, we are ready to continue to do this work to help those that are DACA recipients and that should be eligible to receive DACA,” Rivas said.


These DREAMers, who are doctors, nurses, teachers, military personnel, and so much more, represent the best parts of America. #ThisIsHome #HomeIsHere

— Veronica Escobar (@vgescobar) June 18, 2020

Jon Barela, CEO of the Borderplex Alliance, which promotes regional economic development, said Dreamers are part of the community and contribute much to society.

“While the Supreme Court’s decision today is reassuring, we urge Congress to find a long-term, bipartisan solution to our inefficient and short-sighted immigration system. Doing so will make the country more prosperous and allow us to live up to our highest ideals as a nation,” Barela said.

Long past time for legislative solutions: “As polls have repeatedly shown, an overwhelming majority of voters support permanent protections for DREAMers.”

— Sen. José Rodríguez (@JoseforTexas) June 18, 2020

The Border Network for Human Rights called on Congress to normalize the status of millions of people who came to the country without documents, not just those who came as children.

“We need a long-term solution and we call on Congress to act and bring a substantive solution for the 11 million immigrants in this country,” BNHR Executive Director Fernando Garcia said.

Immigrants have contributed heavily to the economy, history, and culture of our nation. It is not feasible nor appropriate to pursue policies attempting to deport #Dreamers.

— Mayor Dee Margo (@mayor_margo) June 18, 2020

University of Texas at El Paso President Heather Wilson, a former Republican congresswoman from New Mexico and secretary of the Air Force in the Trump administration, applauded Thursday’s ruling.

A message from @UTEPPresident Heather Wilson on the Supreme Court's decision today to uphold DACA.

— UTEP (@UTEP) June 18, 2020

Dylan Corbett, executive director of Hope Border Institute, also called for expanded protections for immigrants.

“Today’s decision is not a final resolution but it is an important reprieve for young people and families with deep roots in our communities, many of whom are on the front lines in this time of national crisis. We still need Congress to act. Pass the Dream Act, cut funding to ICE and CBP, tear down walls, set free the detained and restore asylum,” said Corbett, whose organization advocates for action based on Catholic social teaching.

He said the Supreme Court’s ruling that the Trump administration acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner in ending DACA summed up the administration’s broader border policies.

“We have seen here in this border community how immigration policy and border policy, that recklessness, that capriciousness and that arbitrariness, characterize border policy and immigration policy from the beginning,” Corbett said.

Angela Kocherga contributed to this story.

Cover photo: DACA supporters rallied outside the Supreme Court in November 2019 as the court heard arguments about the future of the program. (Photo courtesy of Victoria Pickering)

This article first appeared on El Paso Matters and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.“

Categories: Local Blogs

Immigration And The Riots

EPN - Border Analysis - Thu, 06/18/2020 - 10:00pm
The American 2020 riots seem to be centralized on the inequality that Black Americans feel each day. In the previous posts we looked at slavery as the reason that America became the economic powerhouse it is today. It is also the American lie that is driving today’s unrest. But many Americans refuse to understand the… Read More Immigration And The Riots
Categories: Local Blogs

Documenting the Gay Community with El Paso Style

El Paso News - Thu, 06/18/2020 - 1:12pm
It is the early 1990s at the Old Plantation Miss Cherry “Miss OP 1978,” a local performer is readying herself for her show.  The dressing room is frenetic energy, but Miss Cherry sits calmly smoking a cigarette and gets ready for her performance.  The cameraman zooms into Miss Cherry who looks straight at him as… Read More Documenting the Gay Community with El Paso Style
Categories: Local Blogs

Racism and the American Lie

EPN - Border Analysis - Wed, 06/17/2020 - 10:00pm
The underlining driving force of the American riots is the lie that slavery was not central to the American experience. Yet, America’s prowess is related to slavery although many Americans like to pretend that slavery is not central to America, or nothing more than a foot note in history. But America would not be the… Read More Racism and the American Lie
Categories: Local Blogs

El Paso Parents Sue School District to Reopen – Rebuild Schools in Chamizal Neighborhood

El Paso News - Wed, 06/17/2020 - 2:03pm
Contact: Paulina Almanza, TRLA Attorney, (915) 271-4361,  Hilda Villegas, Familias Unidas Por La Educación, (915) 222-1977,  Robert Elder, TRLA Communications Director, (512) 374-2764,  EL PASO, Texas — Parents in the Chamizal neighborhood on June 15 sued the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) to reopen two Beall and Burleson elementary schools and force the school district to pay for critical… Read More El Paso Parents Sue School District to Reopen – Rebuild Schools in Chamizal Neighborhood
Categories: Local Blogs

The Big American Lie

EPN - Border Analysis - Tue, 06/16/2020 - 10:00pm
All are equal says the U.S. Constitution and it is the rallying cry behind the American “exceptionalism” arguments. It is the lie that has propelled the country from the moment it was founded. This lie perpetuated the rest of the American lies that follow it, the lie that all are free to worship or argue… Read More The Big American Lie
Categories: Local Blogs

Petition: Recall The Vote To Divide Segundo Barrio

El Paso News - Tue, 06/16/2020 - 3:42pm
Read about and sign the petition at: Background on the petition:
Categories: Local Blogs

Robert E. Lee School to be renamed

El Paso News - Tue, 06/16/2020 - 3:21pm
By Diana Martinez, Special to El Paso News Dear Americans, Imagine, will you, that you have no consent about what is done to your body.  That in and of itself is a violent violation.  In slavery people did not own their own bodies.  Rape and torture were permissible by law.   Robert E. Lee was not… Read More Robert E. Lee School to be renamed
Categories: Local Blogs

Long Live Oñate

Max Powers - Tue, 06/16/2020 - 1:22pm
Okay. Now, you motherfuckers done pissed me off. We went from fighting against police brutality to rewriting history of the American Southwest. I have no fucking idea what Oñate has to do with what happened to George Floyd. But here we are. And yes, it always annoyed the shit out... Max Powers
Categories: Local Blogs


El Paso News - Tue, 06/16/2020 - 11:55am
By El Paso History Alliance We regret to report that the County Commissioners Court, on a 3-2 vote, has moved to omit about half of Segundo Barrio from the planned Segundo Barrio Historic District. This happened under agenda item 19, with Judge Samaniego and Commissioner Stout voting to create a Segundo Barrio Historic District that… Read More COUNTY BOTCHES SEGUNDO BARRIO HISTORIC DISTRICT
Categories: Local Blogs

What We Say: Thousands of Small Cuts

El Paso News - Tue, 06/16/2020 - 11:48am
By Cheryl Howard, Ph.D. Under this President, there has been a predictable rise in white nationalism, hate crimes, and the soul-crushing violence against Spanish-speaking immigrants and anyone who might sound or look like one.  The August 3 attack on the people of our bi-national community woke us up to the realization that legality or illegality… Read More What We Say: Thousands of Small Cuts
Categories: Local Blogs

America Is Broken

EPN - Border Analysis - Mon, 06/15/2020 - 10:00pm
The pandemic news has been overshadowed by the national riots started by the murder of George Floyd and energized by the inequality that underlines American lives. This new series of posts are going to be difficult to read for many because it looks at America from the perspective that American values are about division. Many… Read More America Is Broken
Categories: Local Blogs

How white code talkers don’t see their own racism and go unchallenged

Borderzine - Mon, 06/15/2020 - 5:09pm

If you’re white and live outside of the urban centers where most protests have occurred since the murders of George Floyd and Ahmad Arbury, it’s a scene you’ve likely experienced any number of times. It speaks volumes about where we are as a country a half-century after Martin Luther King Jr. laid down his life to try to solve our enduring race problem – a uniquely American bog that today somehow encompasses both reasonable progress and no progress at all.

It can happen almost anywhere, anytime. Months before the current crises, I was at a local restaurant’s bar when the talk turned to politics. The owner was carrying on about how much he loved President Trump’s tough talk about solving the homelessness problem, as if that problem hasn’t bedeviled America’s leaders for the past 50 years. But to the restaurant owner this sounded great because, as he said, the homeless don’t want to work — and he’s sick of paying to take care of them. “They sit out on the stoop smoking reefer all day!” he bellowed.

Then a customer chimed in that he’d just spent a week training a new employee named “Shanika, Sharika, I can’t even pronounce it.” He added that she was eight months pregnant. He was furious because she took an online test to get the job, whereas when he started years ago he had to take a written exam in person at a testing center.

And yet, as this powwow was winding down, a teenaged African American waitress approached the owner and asked if she could leave early because she needed to study for a calculus exam. He kindly told her that it was no problem, then turned to us and said, “She’s OK.” His snarl of a few moments earlier was gone. The employee of course was not anywhere near us when that conversation occurred.

If you were to call the restaurant owner or his customer racists, they would consider those fighting words. The owner treats his employees well, black or white, and the customer moonlights in music and often performs with black musicians. Both have accepted many societal changes, particularly the social stigma of being openly racist.

But their resentments linger, so they’ve dialed them back into code and convinced themselves they are fair-minded, although you most definitely will not see them out protesting racism. Code talkers profess the same rationale: If black people play by their rules, work hard, and keep their heads down, they’ll treat them as fairly as anyone else. So that’s progress, right? Well, yes, perhaps, if you ignore that it puts African Americans in a state of perpetual probation: When they behave, they’re OK; when they don’t, they’re black.

And we all know what that means.

In case you just flew in from Nepal, let me translate the narrative of the restaurant scene for you: Most blacks don’t want to work, that’s why so many of them are homeless, and we (white people) are paying for it. Make no mistake: The guy smoking reefer on the stoop is black, and so is Sharika or Shanika – note the not-so-subtle alleged confusion about her name. “Pregnant” means out-of-wedlock (quite possibly with the pot smoker on the stoop), and of course Sharika/Shanika only got the job because she’s black, and now her white colleagues have to cover for her.

Welcome to race relations in 2020 America, where we still have a long way to go. In a country that is more of a melting pot than ever, a huge swathe of the population can be described as white code talkers.

The irony of white code talking is that while black people don’t hear it much, they know perfectly well it’s out there, and they’re left to trying to figure out who is and who isn’t talking behind their backs. That’s because the code talkers are usually careful about where and to whom they speak. The audience for the code these days is more often white, especially if the code talkers believe you’re a “safe” listener who won’t squeal on them. The classic trope is: “You can’t say anything these days or they’ll think you’re a racist.”

When I shared my epiphany about code talkers with my wife, who is black, she shook her head at my naiveté, as if to say, “It took you this long to figure this out?” And I can already hear my liberal-minded friends bleating: “Why didn’t you say something!?”

If I see an overt act of racism, I will say something. But recent events aside, that’s not always how it plays out. My wife and I have never had such an experience, which is seemingly a step in the right direction. Beyond that, my response to liberal outrage is:  Really? That’s a marvelous sentiment in your gentrified urban neighborhood where everyone agrees with you, and where you have a hissy fit about people who wore blackface 30 years ago, which of course simply reinforces the code talkers’ paranoia. Get out of your bubble more and you’ll see that code talk is  plentiful, especially among the generations older than millennials. Where I live, if I challenged every code talker I’d be out of breath in a week.

So are we a complicated work in progress, or is it all just more of the same?

On the one hand, many white Americans who may have a chip on their shoulder have nevertheless accepted, sometimes begrudgingly but sometimes proudly, our progress in eradicating the worst evils of racism. They have African Americans in their lives and treat them respectfully, at least to their face.

On the other, their anger still smolders, and when they need to vent, they wait until the African American computer whiz is out of earshot, take stock of who’s in their little audience, and pull out their code when they’re certain it’s safe. It murmurs its way across this country every day. We’ve tried to legislate and stigmatize it away, but it festers still, and we’re coming to learn that it boils over into violence more than we think, whether in Georgia or Minnesota or countless other places. Maybe as a country we just need more time; or maybe we’re just devolving into a society with way too many code talkers living under the delusion that if the white sheets are gone, so is our race problem.

This article was originally posted on on June 14, 2020 and reprinted with permission by the author.


Categories: Local Blogs

Documenting the Gay Community with El Paso Style

El Paso News - Mon, 06/15/2020 - 1:28pm
By Miguel Juárez It is the early 1990s at the Old Plantation Miss Cherry “Miss OP 1978,” a local performer is readying herself for her show.  The dressing room is frenetic energy, but Miss Cherry sits calmly smoking a cigarette and gets ready for her performance.  The cameraman zooms into Miss Cherry who looks straight… Read More Documenting the Gay Community with El Paso Style
Categories: Local Blogs

Changing the Way We Work

EPN - Border Analysis - Sun, 06/14/2020 - 10:00pm
As companies continue to convert into the virtual-driven delivery of services, it is important that company managers start to think digitally instead of continuing to work in an analog world. Today’s children are digital children. They will use Google before using a dictionary and many will likely never use the Dewey Decimal System for research.… Read More Changing the Way We Work
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by Dr. Radut