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    Posted June 8, 2013 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Student voices in journalism

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    Fencing: Yay or Ney By: Ciera Charles and Doris Ugwa

    After the 9/11 incident, the United States government became incredibly strict with their borders, causing them to take major actions to protect all American citizens from Terrorist attacks. In the early 2000, President George W. Bush signed a bill that initiated the constitution of fencing on the border. During the week of June 4- June 8, 2013, students from KIPP Houston had the opportunity to marvel at the beauty and culture of the people living by the border. They volunteered at specific non-profit organizations, such as Proyecto Azteca and the Ozanum Center. Amidst their experience, the students met with Ann Cass, the Executive Director of Proyecto Azteca, who had completely different perspective about the border fence from Agent Arturo Rosales, a first degree supervisor at the Border Patrol unit in Brownsville, Texas. In these meetings, the lingering question was: Should everyone be guaranteed a better life, even if it means taking life threatening risks and or breaking certain rules?

    Ms. Ann Cass from Proyecto Azteca has dedicated 33 years to helping people in the Valley, and she now focuses on building houses for families that came to the States with nothing. Therefore, Ann believes that building the border was insufficient and expensive because the one mile of fencing would range from $3 to 16 million. She believes that instead of allotting that much money to a border that isn’t even keeping all undocumented people out, it should be used to improve the lives of low-income families.

    On the other hand, Agent Rosales takes pride in his work by protecting his section of the border. When a student asked him why he doesn’t let people come to America with pure intentions, Rosales gave the example of two people: between a 70-year-old grandma with an innocent face and a middle-aged man that is covered in tattoos, which one do you believe is the criminal? Most of the students raised their hands for the middle-aged man; however it was the grandma that had a criminal record of drug abuse and violent behavior, while the man was a tattoo shop owner without a single crime on his record. The fact is that you never know who is coming in and what intentions they have, so you cannot profile people and assume why they are crossing the border. The Border Patrol’s main objective is, “To protect the citizens [of the US] from terrorists” and if that means sending back grandmas, grandpas, and children, then so be it.

    Both Agent Rosales and Executive Director Ann Cass have their point of view on how the fence should work and if the fence is effective. What do you think? Should the money have gone to low-income families instead? Is there another solution for the problem? Which side are you on?
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