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Fronteras: Solved Identity Puzzle, Indian Immigrant Makes Good And Asian Center Focuses on Language

Marisa Demarco
Bar Manager Setsuko Rosado and Head Hostess Kum Chu Tillery fold origami on their break.

This week on Fronteras:

— Solving a migrant identity puzzle: A critical detail helps investigators put the pieces together.

— An Indian immigrant makes history in a Dallas suburb where voters elected him to the school board.

— In New Mexico, a place where people speak the same language is key for Asian immigrants needing services.

— Mexican students are fighting graffiti with inspirational messages.

— A new exhibit takes visitors on in-depth exploration of Tejano history

Oscar’s Story:  Solving An Identity Puzzle

The decision to leave one’s home and enter another country, avoiding border checkpointsalong the way, is risky business. But thousands do it every year coming to America, despite the fact that hundreds perish along the way. 

Texas and Arizona investigators are working together to track the identity of these migrants. After tedious, time-consuming research, sometimes, those mysteries are solved. Marfa Public Radio’s Fronteras reporter, Lorne Matalon, describes how researchers found the vital clue that identified Oscar, a man from El Salvador.  He was repatriated back to his home, despite legal obstacles in the United States.  


Indian Immigrant Makes History

Now a different immigrant journey — the one Dinesh Mali made from his childhood in India to his spot as the first Indian-American elected to the Irving, Texas, school board. Irving is a suburb of Dallas. As KERA’s Stella Chavez reports, some residents say it’s good they have a board that reflects the diverse nature of the community.


Most New Immigrants Come From China

Despite the perception that most people migrating to the U.S. come from Mexico, new numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show China topping the list. According to the bureau’s American Community Survey, 147,000 Chinese residents came to this country in 2013. India was second with 129,000 arrivals, followed by Mexico with 125,000. This indicates a change in the flow of migrants arriving here from around the world. Korea, the Philippines and Japan also had significant numbers of people coming to the United States.

Census demographer Eric Jensen says the rise in China to the top of the list follows a 10-year surge in its residents finding new lives here, and a simultaneous decline in people coming from Mexico. People from Latin America still comprise the largest number of immigrants currently in the United States. 

Center Helps New Mexico Asians Get Services

In Albuquerque, the Asian Family Center helps immigrants overcome language barriers so they can access things they need, such as health care, food, housing and education. Advocates there also say the stereotype that Asians are model immigrants can translate to a lack of services. Fronteras reporter Marisa Demarco reports on how the center has become a lifeline for the city’s small Asian population. 

Drug Tunnels On The Rise

In California, U.S. Border Patrol agents recently discovered a tunnel complete with lighting and a rail system that connected across the border to a home in Tijuana, Mexico. Officers patrolling west of the San Ysidro port of entry, south of San Diego, discovered a sinkhole near the border fence that led them to the tunnel. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say the unfinished tunnel was 220-yards long, had a rail cart and shored up walls.

They suspect drug traffickers built the tunnel to run drugs. Agents also unearthed a second tunnel in Mexicali, Mexico.  They say drug cartels using tunnels for smuggling is on the rise. They’ve found more than 75 tunnels along the border since 2008.

Mexican Students Use Inspiration to Fight Graffiti

In a small Tijuana community plagued by crime, some of it drug related, Mexican students are painting a large mural over a graffiti-blemished wall at a school. KPBS Fronteras reporter Jean Guerrero says the students’ mural contains inspiring messages for young students.


Exploring the History of Los Tejanos

A new exhibit at San Antonio’s Institute of Texan Cultures takes a different approach on measuring the achievements and values of the predominant culture in South Texas: Los Tejanos. Texas Public Radio’s Jack Morgan explains how visitors are invited to “experience” the displays.


[Alexis Yancey produced this broadcast. Charanga Cakewalk composed this theme music.]

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules