© 2020 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Border Wall Bids, Pipeline Workers Help Catch Drug Smugglers, And More

Will Mederski


This week on Fronteras:   


·         The U.S. Border Patrol enlists Trans-Pecos Pipeline workers to help catch drug smugglers.


·         The Department of Homeland Security is accepting bids to build President Trump’s proposed U.S. –Mexico Border Wall.


·         The number of refugees and displaced people around the globe totals an unprecedented 60 million and counting.


·         Robots are now playing a vital role in saving the lives of refugees crossing the Mediterranean.


·         The Texas Attorney General questions the establishment of a prayer room in a suburban Dallas high school.


·         An Iranian play that tells a universal story.



Trans-Pecos Pipeline Workers Help Catch Drug Smugglers

Cooperation between Trans-Pecos Pipeline workers and the U.S. Border Patrol has increased the number of drug busts. Drug smugglers and people who’ve entered the country illegally, travel north from Mexico through the desert of Presidio County in West Texas on a regular basis.  That’s the site of the massive Trans-Pecos Pipeline construction project.  It stretches 148 miles from Presidio to just outside of Fort Stockton. Before construction started, Border Patrol agents met with pipeline workers to talk about safety and security.  Marfa Public Radio’s Bayla Metzger reports those meetings paid off.

The Story

Credit Photo by Katie Schoolov / KPBS
Above: The border fence between San Diego and Tijuana is pictured, Sept. 19, 2016.



Companies Submitting Bids To Build Border Wall

The Department of Homeland Security is calling for design proposals for the U.S.-Mexico border wall.  To be specific, the government is asking for a 9-meter-high concrete barrier, extending two meters underground, built to be "physically imposing" and capable of resisting almost any attack, "by sledgehammer, car jack, pickaxe, chisel, battery-operated impact tools, cutting tools and oxy/acetylene torch."Jean Guerrero of KPBS reports on San Diego companies planning to submit bids.

The Story


Credit Lauren Silverman / KERA News
About 150 people gathered at a forum at SMU on March 21 to learn about refugees.


Global Refugee Crisis Has Local Impact In Dallas

More than 150 people, including former first lady Laura Bush, gathered at SMU in Dallas this week for a conversation about the growing number of refugees around the world.  KERA’s Lauren Silverman reports on how the global refugee crisis is having a local impact.

The Story

Credit Courtesy of Hydronalix
Emily, which stands forEmergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard, is a remote-controlled rescue boat that's been used to help refugees survive journeys crossing dangerous waters.



Lifeguard Robot Saves Refugees Crossing Mediterranean Sea

Lauren Silverman has some more news about refugees – how robots are helping rescue those falling overboard as they cross the Mediterranean Sea.  Lauren found out about the technology at South by Southwest in Austin and talked with KERA’s Jeff Whittington about the technological breakthrough.

The Story


Credit Lara Solt / KERA News special contributor
Amna Salman (foreground) and other Muslim students gather to pray inside a classroom at Liberty High in Frisco.


Texas Attorney General Questions School Prayer Room

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office recently raised questions about a prayer room used by Muslim students at Liberty High School in Frisco, a suburb of Dallas. The room is a result of the school’s growing diversity.  KERA’s Stella Chavez reports.

The Story


At a Frisco board meeting Monday, a few people sounded off about the prayer room.  Little Elm resident Tim Boyer criticized the school district and called a prayer room a bad idea.


Tim Boyer: “Are we prepared to make a prayer room for Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews? Are we prepared to build a room for Scientologists, for Satanists? That’s the slope we’re about to go down if we continue this policy?” 


Frisco school district officials say the prayer room is open to students of all faiths.    Lua Akhtarkhavari is a junior at Frisco’s Independence High School. She thanked the school board.


Lua Akhtarkhavari:  “In our school, I see the diversity and I see the friendships that are made based on this diversity. And it’s not the divisions. It’s more that we see that we’re different, but there’s unity in that and we grow from each other.” 


Frisco school board members did not comment on the prayer room.


Credit Photo: Nima Soleimanpour.
Playwright Nassim Soleimanpour.


Seven Year Old Iranian Play Reflects U.S. Politics Today

White Rabbit Red Rabbit” written by an Iranian playwright, is a cold reading – meaning the actor who performs it doesn’t rehearse.  He sees the script for the first time when he takes the stage.  The unusual play, being presented in Fort Worth this weekend, got its legs when the man who wrote it couldn’t get a passport.  KERA’s Jerome Weeks has the story about a seven year old work that reflects U.S. politics today.  

The Story

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1