day four photo

The border is many things to different people across America. For some, it is a place of opportunity, where goods flow in and out of the country, adding to the economies of both Mexico and the United States. Others see it as a gateway for drugs and illegal immigration.

We wanted to know how the people who live and work on the border feel.

So we are travelling this week to Texas’s Rio Grande Valley.

This part of the border has been getting a lot of attention from politicians in Washington lately.  It’s one of the most active places now for apprehensions of illegal immigrants and drug traffickers. But it is also an economic pump for Southern Texas, because of its role as a huge shopping destination for Mexicans hitting the malls of McAllen.

The Rio Grande Valley in Texas abuts 320 miles of river, the iconic Rio Grande, which acts as the natural barrier and the de-facto border between Mexico and the United States. But in many parts of the area there is no man-made barrier between the two countries. In one tiny community, a hand cranked ferry takes people and cars across to the other side. It’s a sign of how intertwined the communities on both sides of the river are.

A decade ago, there were plans to build a border fence here but they never came to fruition because of lack of money, among other reasons. Today, President Donald Trump has promised to build a wall across the entire Southern border and this part of Texas may be included in that.  

Join us—Lulu Garcia-Navarro, host of Weekend Edition, and producers Ravenna Koenig and Samantha Balaban– as we explore this area over the next four days.

(Photo: NPR/ Ravenna Koenig)

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My day in four photos. I left pinedale this morning super excited to do high-resolution sampling for paleosols at Honeycomb Buttes, but the road (“road” = faint two track literally just through fields of cows having sex) got potholey and muddy and I was nervous about driving another hour out, so I sadly bailed and headed down to Utah early. It was an absolutely gorgeous drive - great weather and breathtaking views the whole way. Then I had to decide: camp or cheap motel? The campground I have booked for my planned nights here is full, so my options were KOA or BLM. which normally, BLM any day. But driving through the Swell area I wasn’t sure about where to go, and it’s 100 degrees and a shower after fieldwork is veeerrry nice. So I’m being a lame wimp and moteling it. Hoping tomorrow goes better…

Last two photos are from around the Swell at sunset. Pretty gorgeous.
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Morning rotation (not pictured: my crushing workload for AP Studio help)

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