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On Fronteras: Immigrant Families Released, Crowds Protest White Nationalist, Border Wall Exhibit

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
Women and their children wait in chruch pews to talk to immigration attorneys and get in touch with family in the United States.

On Fronteras:  Immigrant Families Released, Crowds Protest White Nationalist, Border Wall Exhibit

This week on Fronteras:   

  •  Hundreds of Central American women and children pour into San Antonio after  being released from immigrant detention centers.
  • Crowds turn out to protest white nationalist Richard Spencer at Texas A&M University.
  • Deputies in West Texas arrest pipeline protestors who chained themselves to a company fence.
  • An artistic perspective on border security, the existing fence between the U.S. and Mexico and the proposed wall.

San Antonio Welcomes Released Immigrant Families

Hundreds of immigrant women and children arrived at shelters in San Antonio this week after being released from federal immigration detention centers in Dilley and Karnes.  A judge ruled the centers could not be classified as childcare facilities.  Immediately following that decision, children and their mothers held at the centers were released. However, immigration and customs enforcement gave no reason as to why. Here’s how San Antonio churches and non-profits are helping the immigrants connect with relatives and friends.

The Story

Immigrant Advocate Believes Detainees Release Was Not Normal

In a statement we received from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), 470 migrant women and children were released between December 3rd and 5th.  ICE says their release from the Dilley and Karnes detention centers was part of normal operations and not related to the court ruling. 

Texas Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank talked with immigrant advocate Jonathan Ryan, the executive director of a group known as RAICES, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services. Ryan says the release of the immigrants was anything but normal. 

Aaron Schrank also spoke with CoreCivic, the private prison company that operates the Dilley Detention Facility. CoreCivic says Johnathan Ryan’s speculation about its profit motives is unfounded. The company’s public affairs director says CoreCivic plays no role in determining the release date of individuals housed in ICE-contracted facilities—and that determination is made solely by immigration and customs and enforcement.

White Nationalist Visit To Texas Met With Protests

Turning now to the political divisions exposed by the presidential election. This week those differences were seen in Texas when white nationalist Richard Spencer, a member of the so-called alt-right, spoke at Texas A&M University.  Houston Public Media’s Florian Martin reports Spencer’s appearance drew hundreds – supporters and protestors.

The Story

Trans Pecos Pipeline Protestors Arrested In West Texas

The Standing Rock Sioux continue to man their camp in North Dakota, celebrating their victory halting construction of a controversial pipeline on sacred Sioux land. Meanwhile in far West Texas, protests over the Trans-Pecos pipeline being built by the same company, Dallas based Energy Transfer Partners, are growing.  This week, two members of the Big Bend Defense Coalition were arrested after chaining themselves to the company’s Alpine yard gates. Marfa Public Radio’s Jackson Wisdorf [Wiz-Dorf]​ talked with reporter Diana Nguyen [Win]​ – who witnessed the arrests. 

Border Cantos Exhibit Gives New Perspective On Border Wall

Throughout the 2016 presidential election, security along the 2,000 mile U.S. border with Mexico played a major role in president-elect Donald Trump’s campaign.

Trump: “We are going to build that wall (cheers).”

But a photography and music exhibit about border security and the wall that already exists hopes to provide North Texas audiences with a new view on that dividing line.  KERA’s Hady Mawajdeh[ reports.

The Story

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