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Best Of The Border (2/17-2/22)

The week's top stories from Fronteras Desk.

Expedited Crossing: Is A SENTRI Pass Worth The Trouble?

When a young television reporter went for her SENTRI pass interview about a year ago, she sat down facing a CBP officer named Outlaw. According to the journalist’s account of the interview Outlaw seemed immediately suspicious of her desire to travel in and out of Mexico.

“Why do you want to go?” he asked.

“I need to go in for my work as a journalist, and can’t afford the standard three-hour wait times,” she responded.

“A pretty little blonde thing like you,” warned Outlaw. “You’ll become some drug trafficker’s 52nd wife in no time.”

She laughed nervously.

“Do you have a boyfriend?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said. (That’s the only answer any woman or girl would give in a circumstance like this, by the way.)

“If you were my girlfriend, or my wife, I’d never let you go into Mexico. I’ve never been to Mexico and I’ll never go.”


Latino Grocery Chain Profits With Changing Demographics

Photo by Katie Euphrat

Many of Northgate's customers come specifically for the large selection of speciality products from Latin America.

Trapped between a shipyard and one of California’s busiest highways, Barrio Logan residents used to have almost nowhere nearby to purchase fresh fruits, meats and vegetables.

As the Latino and Asian populations in the United States grow, supermarkets that carry the products they want are growing with them.

The family-owned Northgate Gonzalez chain currently includes 37 stores in Orange, Los Angeles and San Diego counties, and the company plans to open three to five new stores a year.

A reviewer on Yelp called Northgate Gonzalez, “Whole Foods Market for the working class Latinos.”


A Billágaana's Attempt At Understanding

Laurel Morales says: While my colleagues cross the southern border to Mexico to report, I drive across a different type of border in northeastern Arizona to interview the Navajo and Hopi tribes. I am a billágaana (the Navajo word for white person) who lives in Flagstaff, a border town on what's often referred to as "the edge of the Rez."

The last time I drove with my family across the reservation, my almost 5-year-old looked out the window and asked, "Mama, why are all the houses broken?"

"They don't have enough money to fix them," I said. I did my best to explain to her in words she could understand.


Gay Couples Push For Inclusion In Immigration Reform Bill

Photo courtesy of Jesus Rodriguez

William Wood and Jesus Rodriguez married recently with the hope that a change in federal law will allow Wood, a U.S. citizen, to petition for legal residency for Rodriguez, who is undocumented.

Jesus Rodriguez and William Wood’s romance started in 2009, after they met through mutual friends at a bar in Atlanta. Last year, when Wood got into a master’s program at the University of California, San Diego, Rodriguez’s company agreed to transfer him to its San Diego office.

But on Labor Day weekend, Rodriguez drove into a traffic checkpoint without a license. He was arrested. He called Wood from the San Diego police detention center.

“I said ‘Oh my God, I’m not going to get to see you ever again,’” Rodriguez recalled. “And he said why? I said, ‘they’re going to deport me.’ He said ‘why?’”

Rodriguez is undocumented. He overstayed a tourist visa in 1995 when he was visiting from Mexico. But during their three-year relationship, he never told Wood, a U.S. citizen.


Mexican Graffiti Artist Creates Stunning 3D Mural In Juarez Skatepark

Minoz, a prolific street artist from Mexico City, paints a sprawling infant across a Ciudad Juarez skate park. Credit: Juxtapoz Magazine