Things That Matter

‘Fiesta Protesta’ Is A Massive Cross-Border Party That Gives A Whole New Outlook On The Border Crisis

Hundreds of people gathered recently along the banks of the Rio Grande for the seventh annual Voices From Both Sides festival held along the edge of Lajitas, Texas, and Paso Lajitas, in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. 

On the American side, three Border Patrol vehicles watched from an overpass as festivalgoers waded back and forth through the thigh-deep water, crossing an international border.

What’s going on there may technically be illegal but police and Border Patrol are looking the other way – for now.

The 7th Annual Voices From Both Sides festival, or Fiesta Protesta, recently took place along the US-Mexico border and festival goers want more people to know about their unique community.

Credit: @ozzyfan1962 / Twitter

Since 2013, there has been an annual Voices From Both Sides festival along the US-Mexico border. The daylong event commemorates the 2002 closure of the border crossing between Lajitas and its Mexican sister city, Paso Lajitas, as well as serving as a kind of binational family reunion. More than 1,000 people cooled off in the Rio Grande, gathered for a picnic lunch and took in music and ballet folklórico performances.

For decades the American and Mexican towns enjoyed an easy interdependence. That changed after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, when the American government tightened border security. Over Mother’s Day weekend in May of 2002, Border Patrol agents detained about 20 people in Lajitas on immigration charges, signaling that unauthorized passage across the river would no longer be allowed. Families with members on both sides of the river were effectively separated; before long, businesses in Paso Lajitas catering to Americans closed.

When the crossing closed in 2002, Paso Lajitas struggled; only a couple of families still live there and the restaurants all closed.

Two decades ago, Paso Lajitas was home to about 20 families and several tourist-supported eateries, a store and a few informal guide outfitters. Visitors from the United States would cross to eat tacos at a riverside restaurant. Residents of the Mexican towns would buy laundry soap in American stores or visit American doctors. Throughout the 1990s, some Paso Lajitas children even attended school in

Now, according to two women who live on the Mexican side, they only see their cousins in the US – who only live 16 miles away – once a year because the journey now involves a long 150-mile -long route.

This year’s Fiesta Protesta was even visited by Mike Rubens, correspondent for “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee.”

One of the attendees described the relationship between the two border towns as “a neighborhood with a river in the middle of it.” Rubens also spoke with two Mexican women who said they grew up attending school in America, and that Americans shopped at their family’s store in Mexico.

Before the Lajitas border crossing was closed in 2002, the Mexicans and Americans thought of themselves as a single community. Co-organizer Jeff Haislip said, “If you’ve never seen the togetherness, you wouldn’t notice the separation. We used to play softball against each other. We were integrated as a community.”

The current administration’s focus on border security has added a new level of concern to people on both sides of the river. One American woman said, “I’m not necessarily pro ‘let everybody come over here,’ but I think that we have gone completely beyond the limits that are necessary for what’s going on. These people just want to see their families.”

Since so few people know about the annual event, many were shocked and excited to hear about it.

Credit: @ilektracm / Twitter

In 2013, after more than a decade of strict border enforcement, Jeff Haislip and Collie Ryan, residents of Terlingua, another small Texas town 10 miles farther east along the Rio Grande, wanted to host a Mother’s Day protest. But then they decided that a party would be more fitting. 

“We didn’t just want to protest the border being closed, we wanted to show all the wonderful things that were lost when it was,” Mr. Haislip said. And so they began planning Voices From Both Sides as an international “fiesta protesta.”

Most people don’t know about the event because few people are reporting on it.

Many viewers and residents alike point out that the whole ‘border crisis’ is entirely made up by the US government and the media. Instead of dealing with humanitarian needs in a humane way, the US has manufactured a crisis in order to respond with brute force and to demonize entire communities.

Some took to social media to share just how special the event really is.

This Instagram user pointed out just how traditionally Texas the celebration really is. Her family goes back generations in Texas and points out that people have been crossing the US-Mexico border for just as long.

During the inaugural event, attendees were initially shy about wading 40 feet across the river. According to one attendee, “the dogs were the ones that broke the ice.”

U.S Border Patrol observes the festivities and allows both sides to travel back and forth across the natural border as long as everyone returns to their respective sides of the river when all is said and done.

Migrants Are Using $100 Saws To Dismantle Trump’s $10 Billion Wall

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Migrants Are Using $100 Saws To Dismantle Trump’s $10 Billion Wall

Recently, at a Mississippi campaign rally, Trump claimed that there isn’t a tool that exists that can cut through the combination of construction materials used for the U.S.-Mexico border wall. However, this weekend, The Washington Post reported that smugglers are sawing through new sections of Trump’s wall with $100 power tools and simply walking across the border.

Within a matter of minutes, smugglers have been able to saw through the steel and concrete bollards by simply fitting a popular cordless saw with special blades, according to The Washington Post.

Hours before The Washington Post broke its news, Trump told a Mississippi crowd, “It’s a different form of cut.”

Credit: @atrupar / Twitter

It seems as if the Army Corp of Engineers presented Trump with three construction material options. “I did all three,” he boasted to a crowd that exploded with applause. “Because it’s a different form of cut,” he explained, seemingly about the power tool required to cut through all three materials. “It can cut through steel but it can’t through the concrete and then you can’t through the hardened rebar. We got it all.” It’s difficult to say what “it” is referring to because of the lack of descriptive nouns in his language.

Later, Trump doubled down on the reason for “The Wall:” that MS-13 gang members were “not human beings.”

Credit: @JoaquinCastrotx / Twitter

“These gangs are the worst people,” he told the crowd. “These people, they are not human beings. I said that once before and ‘Crazy Nancy Pelosi’ said, ‘How dare you say they’re not human?'” Trump doubled down and bragged for refusing to apologize. “You ever see these people?” he asked the cheering crowd. “And they slice people up with a knife because it’s more painful than using a gun. And then I have to defend myself when I say they’re animals. But you know what? I never changed. I didn’t say, ‘Oh I’d like to apologize, Crazy Nancy.'”

Meanwhile, Joaquin Castro visited the Hispanic Caucus’ ofrenda dedicated to honoring the migrants who have tragically died in U.S. custody.

“We also need see-through,” Trump stated.

@MGuarinoedu / Twitter

Presumably, Trump means to say that he’d like a transparent material that also fortifies the border. “Gotta see whose on the other side. That makes sense, right? Not just concrete,” he expanded. Currently, the most protected border sections have two, 30 feet high fences with a paved road in between. But nearly a dozen U.S. Border agents and administration officials have blown the whistle on Trump’s “virtually impenetrable” wall to The Washington Post, on the condition of anonymity.

There are two methods migrants are using to cross the $10 billion tax-payer funded barriers, says The Washington Post.

Credit: @dvillella / Twitter

Of the two methods reported by The Washington Post, the simpler method relies on the use of the popular household cordless saw. The saw is able to cut through the first layer of steel rebar, ten feet of concrete and a rebar core within a few minutes, engineers told The Washington Post. The bollard is attached to a panel at the top of the “wall,” which, when sawed through, is left dangling, ready to be pushed to the side by a migrant who can now simply walk across the border, according to the Post.

The second method is with a custom made ladder, usually made of rebar, which includes a rope ladder that is released down the other side to descend, says The Washington Post. Once on the other side, the ladder can be easily passed through the space between the bollards, and carried to the second barrier, according to The Washington Post.

Migrant smugglers are tricking CBP officers with putty the paper reported.

@DahVeedP / Twitter

An anonymous senior administration official told The Washington Post that while the new bollard system has “significantly increased security and deterrence,” sawing breaches have occurred often enough that CBP officers know how to look out for them. Smugglers, a CBP official admitted to the publication, have an array of strategies to trick CBP officers into bypassing an altered bollard. They might put the bollard back where it was, hoping an agent won’t do a routine boot-kick to test for a breach, an official admitted to the paper. Alternatively, smugglers have also learned to use putty to mask the cut in such a way that it looks like a welding crew had already repaired the bollard, The Washington Post reported.

But those vulnerable spots will soon be fortified with electronic sensors.

Credit: @USBPChief / Twitter

The newspaper’s sources say that the saw trick has primarily worked in places where the electronic sensor system isn’t operational just yet. Once powered on, officials claim that it will alert CBP to vibrations that occur when someone is, say, sawing through “The Wall.”

According to CBP, the Trump administration has constructed 76 miles of new border barriers, with another 158 miles under construction. Trump plans to complete 450 miles of border barriers by the end of 2020.

READ: Twitter Is Cackling Over Trump’s ‘Really Big’ Border Wall He Said Is Being Built In Colorado

Twitter Is Cackling Over Trump’s ‘Really Big’ Border Wall He Said Is Being Built In Colorado

Things That Matter

Twitter Is Cackling Over Trump’s ‘Really Big’ Border Wall He Said Is Being Built In Colorado

Mark Wilson /@SenatorLeahy / Twitter

This is not The Onion. Bear with us. During a speech in Pittsburgh Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. is already working on building a wall along the borders of New Mexico and Colorado. “We’re building a wall in Texas,” he told the crowd. “And we’re not building a wall in Kansas, but they get the benefit of the walls that we just mentioned.” Trump bragged about how the wall would be “a big one that really works — you can’t get over, you can’t get under.”

Colorado only borders other U.S. states. Twitter is roasting the President and his response is just adding fuel to the fire.

U.S. Governors and Senators alike promptly began roasting the president on Twitter.

Credit: @GovofCO / Twitter

The Governor of Colorado, Jared Polis (D), took the opportunity to quip about how Colorado’s education system is at least providing these basic geography lessons to their kindergarteners. “Well this is awkward,” Gov. Polis tweeted. “Colorado doesn’t border Mexico. Good thing Colorado now offers free full-day kindergarten so our kids can learn basic geography.” Supporters quickly commented, “Drag em Gov!!” and “Get the man some Legos!” Get it? Because Trump just wants to build walls and talk about building walls. Get it out of his system.

Luckily, Senator Leahy (D-Vermont) happened to have a sharpie and U.S. map handy.

Credit: @SenatoryLeahy / Twitter

His constituents were very pleased. “Senator Leahy comes through with the Sharpie drawn map. LMAO.” tweets @Dixieann18. A few Coloradoans took it upon themselves to confirm to the rest of America that they don’t see any walls. “I can see the wall from my house as easily as Sarah Palin could see Russia from hers,” Colorado resident Shay tweeted.

While absurd claims were being made, one resident Coloradoan requested a “moat with dragons and alligators and sharks with laser beams and swimming buffalo” in lieu of the wall.

Credit: @capsfaninatx / Twitter

Amy Cosper tweeted, “As a resident Coloradoan, I think I speak for everyone when I say we don’t want a wall, we simply want a moat with dragons and alligators and sharks with laser beams and swimming buffalo. That’s it. That’s the request.” Promptly, photoshop helped provide a glimpse into what the people of Colorado actually want from Trump. 

However, Colorado might be seeking protection from the MAGA red bordering states.

Credit: @merriamweebster / Twitter

New Mexico gets a heavenly gateway entrance to blue Colorado. The rest of the “riff raff” can stay home, tweets one comedian. Other Coloradoans genuinely just want people to stop gentrifying their state and increasing rent prices. But that’s a story for another day. 

Some people just really want to meet Trump’s high school geography teacher.

Credit: @mozzmama / Twitter

Please, break your silence. Tell us the real deal. Scrap the NDA and return the payoff. Carlos Natal spoke for all geography teachers when he tweeted, “Geography teachers are in mourning.” The key mocking point in all the meme-steryia is the question that’s on everyone’s minds…

Does President Trump think New Mexico is part of Mexico? 

Credit: @ZenGrammar / Twitter

Look, I know the New Mexicans ain’t as bad as them old Mexicans,” one Twitter user joked. “But if Colorado wants a border wall to protect against that, that’s they’re choice.  #ColoradoBorderWall” 

Trump later tweeted that he was kidding.

Credit: @realdonaldTrump / Twitter

Trump claims that he was cracking jokes with the Pittsburgh auditorium allegedly packed with folks from Colorado and Kansas. In response, folks are claiming his comic skills are worse than his geographical knowledge of the country he runs as President. “NOBODY in the crowd laughed,” tweeted one David. “NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON.
He’s as good at comedy as he is Presidenting.
FAIL.”

At this point, others are more concerned with his inability to take responsibility for his actions than they are with his geography. 

Credit: @laloalcaraz / Twitter

“Dude, just take the L,” tweets one doctor. “Coming up with this lame and convoluted story just shows how you’re a shameful liar. Making a silly mistake about a wall in Colorado is not nearly as serious as lying to escape responsibility for your mistakes.”

When, really, we all know what the border wall hype is really about.

Credit: @ChrisJZullo / Twitter

Preach, Mr. Zullo! For a country that legally separated babies from their mothers, and profited off of putting asylum seekers in jail, we’re with this Twitter user who has one response for Trump’s #ColoradoBorder wall: “I’d rather be part of Mexico.”

READ: Joe Biden Forgot To Buy The Web Address For His Latino Outreach Campaign And Now Trump Is Trolling Him