So here it is: our final image, for now, from Borderland [at least for the On The Road Tumblr! Web features and NPR broadcast pieces continue through March 28]. It’s a portrait of five students at Anthony High School outside El Paso, Texas.
We save them for last because they represent the border region and, in some ways, the future of America. Statistically, US border counties tend to be younger than other areas of the United States. They’re often majority-minority counties, with a heavy Latino presence. There’s also a high percentage of people with ties to the outside world: three of our five students were born in Mexico. The truth is that when we talked with these students at length, not all of them said they fully felt American, nor were they all certain the United States accepted them. But at one time or another, something drew all five of our students’ families to this side of the border. One of the students saw his father deported, and still he has stayed.
What was the attraction? Maybe it was just this bright and welcoming high school; but maybe it was something more. Surely some of today’s young immigrants will eventually return home, just as some Italian migrant workers returned home from New York in the 1800’s. But surely others will stay, and make their mark on the United States as past immigrants have done. We do not quite live in a borderless world; but they will complete the crossing. (Photo kainazamaria/NPR)