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FRONTERAS: Drug Tunnels; Sanctuary Cities; Despacito

Jean Guerrero KPBS

This week on Fronteras: 

  • An inside look at drug smuggling tunnels on the U.S.-Mexico border.
  •   The Bexar County sheriff has questions about how to enforce SB4 – the state’s new sanctuary cities law.
  • West Texas ranchers take an innovative approach to financing their cattle operations.
  • Some Texas students are crossing ocean borders because of their goalball skills.
  • Commentary on the racial nuances behind America’s number one hit song “Despacito". 


Inside Cartel Drug Tunnels Underneath The U.S.-Mexico Border

As President Trump looks to build a bigger wall along the U.S.–Mexico border, Mexican cartels are working to improve drug smuggling tunnels into America. Sophisticated drug smuggling tunnels cost one to two million dollars to build but experts say the cartels can make that amount back on just the first run.  Jean Guerrero of KPBS travelled to Otay Mesa on the border where she got a first-hand look at how these tunnels are engineered.

The Story

Credit Ryan Poppe / Texas Public Radio
Bexar County Jail

Bexar County Sheriff Questions How To Enforce Sanctuary Cities Law

This week, Houston joined San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, El Paso and El Cenizo in y suing the state of Texas over SB4, the sanctuary cities law.  SB4 goes into effect in September, but the rules are currently about as clear as mud for when Texas law enforcement officials must detain immigrants who may be here illegally.  The new state law will require them to hold immigrants for as long as federal authorities request.  But a recent judge’s ruling says there has to be probable cause that the immigrant has committed a crime. Texas Public Radio’s Ryan Poppe talked with Bexar County officials about how they’re navigating these murky waters, and what they learned from a case where an immigrant was held for months.

The Story

Credit Jill Miller, Rim Rock Photography


Texas Ranchers Turn To Tourism For Survival

Now to West Texas, where ranchers are broadening their income streams to keep their cattle operations afloat.  Marfa Public Radio’s Zoe Kurland reports some of those ranchers are finding financial stability in nature related tourism.

The Story

Credit Texas Health and Human Services


Texas Athletes Show Their Skills In Hungary Goalball Games

This month, four students from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Austin are headed across the Atlantic Ocean to Hungary.  The Texas Standard’s Becky Fogel reports they are among a handful of Americans selected to compete in the Goalball World Youth Championships.

The Story

Credit Omar Cruz
Luis Fonsi


Commentary:  The Racial Nuances Of The Hit Song “Despacito”

The smash hit song “Despacito” has taken the airwaves by storm. The dance track is holding at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for a sixth consecutive week. It hit two billion views on YouTube a week ago after its launch in January, believed to be faster than any other clip in YouTube history.  Commentator Yvette Benavides, a professor of English and Creative Writing at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, notes that the success of the Spanish language song is an important signal about America that’s changing underneath our dancing feet.

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