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ON FRONTERAS: Soccer Mania In Texas; Immigrants Paying Taxes; A Tex-Mex Economy

Paul Flahive
Texas Public Radio
Tickets were sold out for months at the U.S.-Mexico soccer match played in San Antonio.

This week on Fronteras: 

--A look at how undocumented immigrants without social security numbers pay taxes, and why the IRS doesn’t disclose their identities.

--A legal border crossing in Texas stimulates economies and relations on both sides as it celebrates the second anniversary of its opening.

--Mexican teachers experience Houston classrooms in an international, cultural exchange program.

--A unique protest in support of an arrested Cuban artist brings museums together in solidarity.

--Football fans in Texas are no longer just rooting for the Cowboys and Texans.  The growing popularity of soccer and the USA-Mexico soccer match.

Why Undocumented Immigrants Pay Taxes

People living along the Texas-Mexico border exchange money, skills, culture, even sports.  And it’s all paying off. I’m Shelley Kofler in San Antonio, this week’s host of Fronteras, a program about border issues and the changing demographics in the Southwest.  

You’ve probably heard that to find work in the United States immigrants who are here illegally often use false social security numbers or numbers that belong to someone else.  Then they file income tax returns using a special number provided by the IRS.  Joey Palacios of Texas Public Radio in San Antonio reports on why immigrants fearing deportation still want to pay taxes.  And why the IRS doesn’t report their illegal status to Homeland Security.

Listen to Joey’s report

Fewer Immigrants Detained

Here’s an update on the number of immigrants being held in America’s detention centers. It may surprise you. A count of non-American citizens facing deportation is now the lowest in nearly a decade. Since 2007, the annual number of detainees has averaged more than 30-thousand.  It was a little higher last year.  But in the first five months of fiscal 2015, that figure has dropped to about 26-thousand. 

Border Crossing Two Years Old and Thriving

After the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the U-S sealed its border along Mexico, crushing economic growth in towns on both sides.  But a legal crossing point that opened two years ago in Texas is thriving and may become part of a template for reviving rural border economies.  Fronteras reporter Lorne Matalon of Marfa Public Radio reports political and diplomatic luminaries gathered to celebrate the crossing’s second anniversary.  

Listen to Lorne’s report

78 Counties Now Mostly Minority

As the demographics shift in the Southwest we’re going to bring you statistics and information on how this part of America is changing.  The Pew Research Center reports 16- counties in Texas have become majority minority counties since the year 2000.  They are among 78 counties in 19 U.S. states that now have minorities outnumbering whites. In a majority of the country’s 25 most populated counties Whites make up less than half of the population.  Only two small counties nationwide went from being mostly minority to mostly white since 2000.  They were in South Carolina and Louisiana.

Most Adult U.S. Hispanics Are Bilingual

And here’s more from Pew Research. The majority of adult Hispanics in America, 6 out of 10, speak both English and Spanish.    Latino adults who have immigrant parents are most likely to be bilingual, about 50-percent.  Bilingualism is one of the main reasons Spanish after English is the most spoken language in the U.S.   And, in a sign of the times, Spanglish, a hybrid of Spanish and English, is popularly used by 70-percent of young Latinos, ages 16-25.

Mexican Teachers Visit Houston Schools

Now to Houston where schools recently welcomed ten teachers from Mexico in an international exchange program.  Houston Public Media’s Syeda Hasan reports the teachers say they gained new skills and strategies during the experience.

Listen to Syeda’s report

Museums Support Arrested Cuban Artist

Museums are typically closed Mondays. But in a rare event, all three museums in the Dallas Arts District joined in staging a public, participatory artwork during lunch last Monday in front of the Nasher Sculpture Center there. KERA’s Jerome Weeks reports they were joining museums from Times Square to Los Angeles in solidarity with an arrested Cuban artist.

Listen to Jerome’s report

US-Mexico Soccer Match

It was a wild night Wednesday at Houston’s San Antonio's Alamodome.  Football fever hit a new high as fans celebrated an upset win by the U.S. team over Mexico.

As you might have guessed this wasn’t football with a pigskin.  It was played with a round ball and a goalie. What most of the rest of the world calls football, we know as soccer.  Tickets to the match sold out months ago.  Shelley Kofler talked with Paul Flahive, both of Texas Public Radio, about the match and why soccer is become more popular in the Southwest.

Story airing on Texas Public Radio

Shelley Kofler is Texas Public Radio’s news director. She joined the San Antonio station in December 2014 and leads a growing staff that produces two weekly programs; a daily talk show, news features, reports and online content. Prior to TPR, Shelley served as the managing editor and news director at KERA in Dallas-Fort Worth, and the Austin bureau chief and legislative reporter for North Texas ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.