NPR hosts ‘Beyond Borders’ event in San Diego


Celia Jimenez

Experts talked about life in the border region, illegal immigration, the cross-border economy, among other topics, at a panel discussion hosted by NPR at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation in San Diego on May 2.

Thomas Chesy

National Public Radio presented a panel discussion focusing on the future of the US-Mexico border region on Tuesday night.

The panel was moderated by Michel Martin, the weekend host for NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Prominent guests included Jean Guerrero, KPBS’ border reporter, and Terry Shigg, a U.S. Border Patrol agent and president of the agency’s local union.

The conversation was wide-ranging and civil throughout, and was only briefly interrupted when a woman in the audience walked up to the stage and waved to one of the guests before sitting back down.

“Things happen south of the border that don’t happen anywhere else. When you’re crossing the border, it’s evident right away that you’re crossing into another universe,” Guerrero said.

Many questions both from Martin and the audience were directed to Shigg, who sought to explain why most Border Patrol agents supported the building of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“A wall is what allows us to do our job safer, more efficiently, and allows those communities around those areas to flourish” he said.

The other panelists were Alfonso González, an attorney with CIR Law Offices International, which works in Tijuana and San Diego; Jacqueline Arellano, a volunteer with Border Angels; and Jorge Meraz, the host of the popular KPBS show “Crossing South.”

The panel discussion was presented in collaboration with the NPR’s local affiliate, KPBS.

A recording of the event is available on NPR’s Facebook page, and had been viewed nearly 160,000 times by around 11 p.m.