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On Fronteras: Texas Landowners Win Millions In Pipeline Fight, Passport Delays, 1st Gen Students

Lorne Matalon
Marfa Public Radio
Pipes await deployment near the border with Mexico. The Trans-Pecos Pipeline is being paid for by Mexico’s Federal Electricity Commission which wants natural gas from Texas to wean Mexican power plants off of coal. ";

This week on Fronteras:   

  •  A high profile anti-U.S.-Mexico pipeline campaign gets underway as the builder is ordered to pay border landowners millions.
  • If you need a passport, it may take a while to get – there’s a backlog.
  • A border school helps students of immigrants bypass college tuition and earn two years of college credits before getting their high school diploma.
  • Honoring World Refugee Day with the success story of an Iraqi refugee who fled death and now helps other immigrants market their skills for American  jobs.

Texas Landowners Win Millions As Stars Launch Anti-Pipeline Campaign

In Texas, they say energy is king.  It may still be but right now the crown belongs to West Texas landowners. They just won unexpectedly high awards - millions of dollars  -against Energy Transfer, a U.S. company contracted by Mexico to build a controversial natural gas pipeline. Mexico is paying for the pipeline that will carry Texas natural gas to Mexican power plants. And because the state says the pipeline is in the public interest, that gives the builder the power to seize private land here.  Despite winning lucrative awards for the pipeline being built on their property, the landowners really don’t want it and they’re getting some huge help.  A high profile anti-pipeline campaign is underway – fueled by the power of Hollywood. The story from Marfa Public Radio’s Fronteras reporter Lorne Matalon.
The Story

State Department Expects Passport Delays
The U.S. State Department is expecting a 33 percent increase in passport renewals over the next year. That means it could take longer to get a passport.  About six years after 9/11, passports were required for the first time to enter Mexico and Canada. Passports have a life of about 10 years before they need to be renewed making the number of renewals anticipated this year a near tidal wave. The state department says it is prepared with staffing but delays can still be expected. We sat down with Brenda Sprague, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Passport Services at the State Department to learn more.
The Story

World Refugee Day Honors Hard Work
Escaping persecution or death, being resettled in a foreign country, learning a different language, understanding a new culture, overcoming the suspicions of some neighbors. These are challenges refugees in America face and it’s tough, but not impossible, to rise above them. This week World Refugee Day acknowledged the hard work and plight of refugees. For KPBS in San Diego, Speak City Heights reporter Tarryn Mento interviewed Mohammed Tuama [Too-AH-ma,] an Iraqi refugee honored for his journey to success.  
The Story

Border High School Helps 1st Generation Students Earn Free College Credits 
Imagine being the first in your family to go to college. Just paying the tuition bill can be daunting and that’s the case for many students from immigrant families.  But one border school district is exposing these students to college level courses even before they finish high school.  The plan gives students college credits without paying a dime of tuition. KUT’s Kate McGee saw how this is working in Laredo on the U.S. – Mexico border.
The Story

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