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Voting On Both Sides

Cover image for podcast episode

Some people in San Diego and Tijuana can vote on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

In a new episode of “Port of Entry," we profile three of these binational citizens who can vote in elections in the U.S. and Mexico. And while you might think these folks all fall on the same side of the political fence when it comes to how they vote, actually these three are all surprisingly different.

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So, I’m good to go when it comes to voting in the U.S….But because I left Mexico when I was a kid, I never bothered to register to vote there.

I’m still a full-fledged citizen in both countries, so I do have the right to vote on both sides of the border if I want to.

But until now, I was only flexing half of my binational voting super powers.

BEAT

2020 though, felt like a good year to change that.
Alan dad Clip 1
Ambi sound of alan walking over to his dad in flip flops. Papa. Como estas? ....oh, speaking in spanish with dad.
So….my first step to get myself registered to vote in Mexico was talking to my dad. Because I have no idea how to do it.

Alan dad clip 5

So, my dad told me I should hit up the Mexican Consulate.

So, I gave the consulate a call.

PHONE RINGING/AUTOMATED MESSAGE

Right now because of COVID, it's super hard to get an appointment over the past month. I've called multiple times. Haven't gotten through, I've sent messages through their web portal. I have emailed them nothing.

I almost gave up, but luckily my producer connected me with someone who works at the constellate and I finally got an appointment.

Alan Voting Diary
I’m just leaving the mexican consulate in Little Italy. It’s 8:30. I registered to vote. That was actually way easier than I thought. I actually forgot that you had to take a picture so I came with crazy bed hair, but whatever, I can vote now.

BEAT

From KPBS and PRX, this is Port of Entry.

I’m Alan Lilienthal.

Today we continue our series on race and politics at the border with a story about people sorta like me, but folks who are already flexing their binational power by voting on both sides.

Stay with me.
Midroll 1

Paloma Zuniga cannot stand the sight of a dog without a home.

BEAT

Voter Both Sides Paloma Clip 5
I rescue dogs. I have a, an animal rescue. Um, I rescue stray animals from Mexico, right. So, um, I'm very against the whole stray dog situation everywhere because I know that that can become a huge problem. I mean, we have approximately 15 million stray dogs in Mexico, which is one of my reasons why I live in Tijuana right now

BEAT

Voter Both Sides Paloma Clip 38
I live for my animals that are my mission. They're my mission. I can't that I could have, uh, many years ago I could have just chose to stay in America and just have this great life in America. I don't have any children. I could, you know, work 24 hours a day if I really want to and make a great life in America. But the animals in Mexico just will not let me get away.

BEAT

Paloma is a binational citizen.

Like me, she spent her early years in Mexico City.

Voter Both Sides Paloma Clip 2
So I was born in Mexico city. Uh, two, both parents from Mexico city. We also live in a town called Valle de Bravo. I'm not sure if you're familiar with it. Uh, so we have, we have, uh, we have a house in as well. Um, I grew up for six, five years of my life in Mexico city. Uh, we ended up going, uh, moving to Valle de bravo, which is a beautiful, uh, very, uh, Very traditional town in Mexico. And it's one of the things that, that, uh, that reminds me of what the Mexican culture is really about…

When she was little, her family took lots of trips to the U.S.

So Paloma had a clear idea of the differences between the two countries early on.

Voter Both Sides Paloma Clip 3
We were always very respectful of America, of it, of the American culture, of the American, a way of life….law and order. Um, the American secure borders, just everything America represented, which I don't feel we all we always had in Mexico, uh, safety, you know, all that, that, uh, that sometimes lack in Mexico, specialty the safety. And I remember traveling to America as a six month old, two year old five-year-old with my parents, with my grandparents and, uh, yeah. And really valuing that part of America, where, where I felt like I, and also how clean America was. I remember being able to walk around barefoot in California, which, you know, going to the store barefoot in Mexico. It's not something that most people do,

BEAT

But I remember spending the summers in California at my aunt's house in San Juan Capistrano in, in California. And I remember it was just such a. It was, it was just so amazing to me. How clean, how safe, how beautiful America was. It was, uh, you know, it wouldn't be on Disneyland, it went beyond main street. All of California seemed to be a sort of this paradise for me

BEAT

Eventually, Paloma’s mom married an American man, and her family moved to the U.S. to live full time. That’s how Paloma became a U.S. citizen, too.

The family moved to California. But it wasn’t the pristine place she remembered from her childhood trips.

Voter Both Sides Paloma Clip 4
It wasn't the same police. It wasn't the same, um, the same, uh, safety, the same, everything that I remember as, as a kid growing up in Mexico and visiting California, visiting America. So that's, uh, that's when I started noticing changes that I, as a Mexican in California, didn’t like.

Paloma lived in Orange County at first, but when she started getting involved in dog rescuing, she had to move to East LA to find a place that would rent to someone with lots of dogs.

She says it was there, surrounded by Spanish-speaking Mexican-Americans like herself, that something sorta clicked inside her brain.

BEAT

Voter Both Sides Paloma Clip 6
It was like, okay, this is not America. I remember, you know, running into it, stray dog when I first moved to America and it was a big deal. People would have a big, you know, people would make a big deal out of a stray dog running around the street in Lake forest, which is where I grew up in orange County, California. Um, but in LA and this part of you selling anyway, it's no big deal. It's just like another day. It's an, it's an, it's no big deal. So it seems like Mexico, um, you know, a lot of, uh, the streets were super, super dirty. I mean, I took pictures for years.And I remember back in 2012, I'm thinking to myself and discussing it with my neighbors. Why don't we start, uh, you know, have like a weekend, we clean up our city, you know, And the whole city, the whole East LA, it looks like a, it looks like a dumpster. Why do we have to live like this? This is not fair. This is America.

OK, so...you might be able to sense where Paloma’s politics are going.

But I’m not gonna tell you what, exactly, she’s doing with her binational vote just yet.

First, I want you to meet David.

Voter Both Sides David Clip 1
My name. Is David Hiriart ... depending on what language you're speaking. Um, and I am a writer and educator based here on the us Mexico border, formerly from the San Diego-Tijuana area. Now, currently in the El Paso-Juarez area.

David grew up on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico Border.

He calls himself a “border brat.”

Voter Both Sides David Clip 2
As an English major, I really enjoy alliteration. So that's probably where the border brat thing came from. Um, but now if I think about it now, then it's just kind of like acknowledging the. Uh, the advantages and the privileges that you have as, um, as, as someone who can go back and forth between the two countries, um, and just kind of like, you know, crossing the border by yourself. Like, since I was like 12 years crossing the border by myself, since I was like 12 years old, um, was, has been like an interesting experience. Um, it's kind of like being like a latchkey kid, but like on steroids, you know?
BEAT

David was born in the U.S., so he’s a citizen, and his dad is Mexican, so he got his Mexican citizenship through him.

He went to elementary school in Massachusetts.

then he did middle and high school in Mexico.

And for college, he decided to go to school back in the states, at UC San Diego, but he kept living in Mexico. That’s a whole lot of zigzagging.

Voter Both Sides David Clip 5
I tried living at the dorms in UCSD and it was just. There was so much happening in Tijuana at the time that it was difficult to kind of like, um, adapt to the very strict and boring, uh, or it seemed to me boring dorm life. So I think it was like in my, during my last years of university, I just would do the trek every day from Tijuana to the La Jolla, which was, yeah, it was difficult, but you know, you do what you have to.

BEAT

David’s life straddling the border was kinda strategic for him.

When things got boring or bad on one side, he used to just pack up and move to the other side.

Voter Both Sides David Clip 31
and because yeah, sure. I mean, I'll admit it, you know, it's like things are getting fucked in Mexico. I would, I would, I would live in the U S for a while and, or I would like, you know, try and like figure out stuff in the U S and if things in the U S were getting fucked, I would go to Mexico. Um, and you know, and again, like, my father gave me shit about you. It's like, yeah, that's never how you should have thought of things. You know, it's like, you're not supposed to run, you know, you, you. Thankfully are you, you have the option to, but you know, 99.9% of the population does not have that option.

BEAT FADE OUT

The U.S. has allowed citizens living abroad to vote in elections for the long time. Mexicans who live outside of the country, however, didn’t win the right to vote until 2006 after a hard-fought battle to convince lawmakers.

As a citizen in both Mexico and the U.S., David can vote on both sides of the border.

He can also work for political campaigns in both Mexico and the U.S…that’s a right reserved only for dual citizens.

There are strict election laws that say foreign nationals can’t donate to...or work for political campaigns in the U.S.

Foreigners are allowed to volunteer their time on a political campaign, but the minute money enters the picture, it’s not allowed.

Anyway...in 2014, while David was living in Tijuana, he got a job canvassing in San Diego.

Voter Both Sides David Clip 8
I didn't know what canvassing was, um, until it was like around maybe 18 or 19. Um, when it was like, Hey, you can, you know, they're paying a quarter for every signature you get. Right. You would see like these kids on, on, on your college campus or whatever, getting like, uh, registering people to vote or whatever. And you're like, Oh, I can do that. Like, I know how to talk to people and I can, you know, figure that out. So, yeah. So I, I did kind of start on the cynical side of it. Um, it was just like another extra college aid, but it felt nice to. Do something that wasn't McDonald's that wasn't, you know, Walmart, that was something that was actually like helping out a cause while I was able to like, make book money or whatever. Right. Um, and then from there, it just kind of like the financial aspect took a backseat and I just started, um, I was kind of like already on these lists of canvassers. So I just, you know, kept going to, whenever they called me up and I had like an extra weekend, I would do like get out the vote stuff or I would just kind be that extra pair of hands whenever it was needed.

David was good at what he did.

He’s charismatic….one of those people you just want to, I don’t know, like sit down, smoke a joint with and have a philosophical conversation. He’s just good at holding court.

It’s a quality that made him successful at getting people’s signatures on the spot.

Voter Both Sides David Clip 19
It's like you, you kind of like learn to, to talk about politics more in the reality of politics as where people are, then the mental masturbation that it is for most people. Right? Um, no, no one really gives a shit about what the New York times says or what MSNBC says or Fox says outside of getting angry for it and, you know, posting it and having like. Friends give like a little heart thing, ear, like a thumbs up thingy to it. Right. Um, but yeah, but the reality on the ground is, is very different. And the way that people talk about politics is very different…...you know, like you, you catch more people politically by saying stuff like, you know, work sucks, right. Hey, why do I have to work 60 hours a week? And I still can't make rent.

BEAT

David’s signature-gathering expertise wasn’t really needed in Mexico...there really wasn’t the equivalent or need to collect signatures or register people to vote back in the day.

But that changed in 2015…

Until then, Mexico barred independent candidates from the ballot...you had to be with one of the big political parties to qualify. But once the country did allow independent candidates to run, it required them to get lots of signatures to qualify.

And suddenly, David found his skill set in high demand in Tijuana.

Voter Both Sides David Clip 15
basically a lot of like politics, there were lots of like, yeah, how do you get signal? You know, like how do you get sick people to sign stuff? And you know, well, you do what we did. You get a bunch of like charming 20 year old, 20 somethings, and you put them on street corners. So like, say like, Hey, where do you vote? And have you heard of so and so, you know, so it was really interesting to like, translate that dynamic.

BEAT

So, 2015 was a super busy year for David.

He was working with political nonprofits in Tijuana and also canvassing and working in Spanish-speaking neighborhoods in San Diego, getting people registered to vote.

But then….when the 2016 presidential election happened in the U.S…..he himself found out there was a problem with his own voter registration.

BEAT

I’ll tell you what happened to David in 2016...I promise...but first, I’ve got one more binational voter I want you to meet.

Olivia intro clip from google drive

Her name is Olivia Aguirre Cortes.

And Olivia keeps up with politics in both countries by reading news in both Spanish and English...but she also does this other thing….

Collage of Olivia Calling and Saying Hello To All Her Friends Over the Phone

Olivia calls friends and family on both sides of the border and dives right into these really deep conversations about life, philosophy and, of course, politics.

Basically...she’s a connector.

Collage of Olivia Calling and Saying Hello To All Her Friends Over the Phone

Voter Both Sides Olivia Clip 13
I think without being my goal, I have, uh, become an agent of change with other people that I'm close with…..
Voter Both Sides Olivia Clip 17
so I know a lot of people on both sides of the border, I can say, uh, with. Joy that I have, uh, good connections with, uh, both countries

BEAT FADE OUT
CAR AMBI UP

Voter Both Sides Olivia Audio Diaries Clip 3 Driving into Tijuana
There's very few cars and all the employees from customs are wearing their face masks. The soldiers, I don't see him. Well, I guess one of them is about to drink water. That's probably why he's not wearing a face mask. Yeah. And a lot of people waiting to go across the border from Tijuana to San Diego

Olivia lives in San Diego now, but grew up in Tijuana and still crosses back into Mexico all the time.

On this particular trip, which we asked her to record for us on her smartphone, she was going to a pharmacy to get medication that’s a lot cheaper than it is north of the border.

Voter Both Sides Olivia Audio Diaries Clip 20 Driving Through TJ
here i come [sound of blinker] tacos unioa... very good. Fish tacos.shrimp tacos too. I see some flower stands. I never seen them before.going up the hill to Colonia Cacho.

CAR AMBI FADE OUT

Olivia loved living in Tijuana, but she wasn’t able to build her career in mental health there. It’s just not a service enough people can afford. And mental health isn’t a priority in Mexico the way it’s becoming one in the U.S.

So, she applied for and got a work visa after she got offered a job as a school therapist in Barrio Logan, a largely Spanish-speaking neighborhood of San Diego.

But even after she moved just a few minutes north of the border, she made sure she stayed registered to vote in Mexico.

She can vote in Mexican elections by mail, but she still crosses the border to vote sometimes too.

She says she’ll never forget the first time a Mexican presidential ballot showed up in her mailbox.

BEAT

Voter Both Sides Olivia Second Half Clip 27
Everything was so professional. So pretty, so colorful. I feel so proud. So I voted, that was for, uh, during, uh, when, when we elected Calderon. Um, but for Pena Nieto, I went and, and I was able to vote in Mexico. I went to Tijuana to vote.

BEAT

Voter Both Sides Olivia Second Half Clip 27
It's good that I, I have the ability to vote in two countries, because again, if I vote in Mexico for the things that will impact Mexico, but not only Mexico, the U S and other countries, of course, I'm going to vote. My vote and the vote of every single person does count. Some people think why bother, they're going to do what they're going to do. No, it does count. And it is a responsibility. It is a duty, not only a right.

BEAT

Olivia is so into politics and voting that she even planned her own wedding around election day in Mexico.

She made sure her big day would not get in the way of her civic duty.

Voter Both Sides Olivia Clip 11
I didn't want to not vote. I know maybe I'm a nerd, but I cared

Voter Both Sides Olivia Clip 7
Something that I really like about voting in Mexico is that it is on a weekend when a lot of people can go. It's not an a weekday. And, and, um, I, I, well, a lot of people work like three jobs or four jobs, but it gives them time to go and vote. And it's hard for me to understand why here in America, people have to like take time off or earn less money that day to go and vote.

BEAT

It took Olivia from 2006 to 2019 to become an actual citizen.

That’s thirteen years.

Voter Both Sides Olivia Clip 8
This is will, these will be the first, the first time that I can vote because I just became a citizen.

BEAT

Voter Both Sides Olivia Second Half Clip 23
Guess what? This year we commemorate when they pass the 19th amendment. So women were allowed to vote. I believe they didn't vote until two years after that, but it is amazing that now I'm a citizen, it's the hundredth anniversary and I will get to vote. And I will vote …. So that's, I don't know. Maybe I'm cheesy, but who cares? Laughs. It’s so important to me.

BEAT FADE

So, what exactly are these binational citizens' politics? How are they actually using their power to vote in both countries?

You might think dual citizens are all sorta the same when it comes to which side of the political fence they fall on, right?

But actually, they’re really all over the place.

We’ll show you how, after a short break.
MIDROLL 2

For Paloma, it really all comes back to the dogs.

BEAT

She started seeing stray dogs wandering around the streets of East LA…

And that’s when she says she felt like the worst parts of Mexican culture had made their way to the U.S.

Voter Both Sides Paloma Clip 7
my neighbors had, it looked like a junkyard next to me, you know? And unfortunately these are Hispanics and I'm not even, obviously I'm not being racist. I'm a Mexican myself and, and you know, I'm as Mexican, as Mexican is going to get, like, it doesn't get any more Mexican than me, but. Why do we have to bring that with us to America? Why can't we, I mean, cause I know other States and other cities and other areas of their counties, um, they, they don't, they're their streets don't look like that their, their front yards don't look like that. They don't have stray dogs aren't running around. They don't have, you know, cars that have been parked outside for two years, you know, that look like. So, so that's one of the things that started bothering me. Also, another thing is that I felt like the American culture was being lost.

BEAT

That realization right there...that American culture was supposedly being lost…..because of Mexicans…..it set Paloma on a path that would eventually lead…..

HALF BEAT

To Trump.

Voter Both Sides Paloma Clip 1
…….I've been supporting, uh, president Donald Trump since. The beginning of his campaign. Um, the day he announced he was running for president,

BEAT

Ok...if your knee-jerk reaction to hearing about a Mexican woman who supports Trump is like...wait, what? Support a guy who wants to wall off your country and make you pay for it? Well then, you’re definitely not alone.

But Paloma’s got a quick response to that.

Voter Both Sides Paloma Clip 25
My message is of nationalism. Pretty much. I want Mexico to remain Mexico, especially when the caravans came here and where they were coming by the thousands coming from other places. Um, and I want America to remain America.

BEAT

Voter Both Sides Paloma Clip 34
I don't know if you can hear it in my background, but I'm building a wall right now. Then you hear it sort of. Okay. Okay. Well, I'm that we're building a wall. A lot of my I've had, I've had of, of few things stolen from, uh, from my front yard or whatever. about two and a half weeks ago, we started building a fence, a wall, you know, concrete wall with, um, and, uh, so I feel that. It is necessary to have national security. I, you know, I think he's looking out for the welfare of Americans. Um, I do think he wants to put Americans first.

When Trump announced his candidacy in 2015, Paloma felt like a lot of things he was saying were spot on.

She, too, wanted to make America great again.

And she realized that as a Mexican woman, she had a unique perspective that might resonate with people outside of Trump’s immediate reach.

BEAT FADE

Voter Both Sides Paloma Clip 19
I really, I felt like I had to speak my mind and I remember printing a big sign in 2015 when he announced he was running for president, because I saw what they were doing with the rhetoric and with a message that he was putting out. And I felt that it was being twisted. So I put, I printed it a huge sign that said I am a Mexican, it was black, was black, red and white. And, uh, I, it had a big, big letters, right? I said, I am Mexican and smaller letters. It said, and I'm also American and American and they love Trump. And so I think at that point, obviously the sign, um, I mean, obviously I wanted to get my message out, but the sign got more attention than that than I thought it would. I mean, I knew it would get attention, but before I knew it, I was, uh, you know, getting a lot of calls from different media outlets and different, uh, Obviously traveling to different places. They were asking me to travel and, and, uh, and do speeches.
BEAT

Whether she was ready or not, that sign and the attention it got propelled her into the political spotlight.

BEAT

And she didn’t flinch. Instead, she quickly built herself a substantial online following.

At the height of her popularity, she had about 76,000 followers on Facebook, and thousands more on Twitter and other social media accounts.

But with all the positive attention she was getting from Trump supporters, came just a much negative attention.

BEAT

Voter Both Sides Paloma Clip 27
It got really hard last year. Very, very hard. Last year, especially when I started getting a lot of death threats. Um, I had to leave my house in Tijuana for four months. I had to move to America completely for four months and not post where I was completely hide my location.
Voter Both Sides Paloma Clip 21
Alan: And were you prepared for that kind of reception? Like what do you. Were you scared?
Paloma: No, it was overwhelming. It was overwhelming. It was especially because I live in Tijuana and I, and I started getting a lot of death threats. I started getting a lot of attention that I did not expect to get. people came out. People that I had not seen in five years, that claimed they knew me, but they really didn't know me that I maybe I met once or something that were against Trump, especially in Tijuana. Um, they came out, put out all kinds of slander, all kinds of things. So, no, I was not ready for. For that. Definitely not, not ready, especially since it happened overnight, even though I had already been very active, but not active in that, at that level where like one of my videos got probably about 40, 50 million views, you know?
Voter Both Sides Paloma Clip 22
And I remember going through an airport not just a year ago. And, uh, and I remember going through security when, where they opened up your luggage and whatever else. And the guy that was one of the, you know, one of the, uh, one of the agents or one of the, uh, one of the guys there, he's like, Oh my God, you're a Poloma for Trump. And then it was like, I just, it was weird, you know?

NEW BEAT

One of the things that propelled Paloma into the headlines is an incident that’s, honestly, really hard for me personally to watch.

PALOMA HARASSING MIGRANTS VIDEO

In this video you’re hearing, Paloma is yelling at a group of migrants who just crossed the Colorado River into the U.S from Mexico. They’re somewhere near Yuma, Arizona.

And...at one point...Paloma just loses it…

She starts pushing a man and his son, who looks like he’s around just 12 or 13.

PALOMA HARASSING MIGRANTS VIDEO

Voter Both Sides Paloma Clip 36
I, I acted like a lunatic. That's the only thing I can tell you.

BEAT

Voter Both Sides Paloma Clip 36
you will never find another video of me acting like that or ever acting prior. Or ever acting like that again? Um, I, I don't know what took over me. Um, I have no idea what took over me that day. It doesn't, I mean, I got, I was reached out to, by so many people saying what, what w. What, what is wrong with you? What the hell is wrong with you? What happened to you that day? I mean, you're compassionate, you're caring. You're not violent. Like what is wrong with you? So the only thing that I can tell you is that right away, I, I apologize. We, you know, w after the video came out and I apologized, I mean, maybe they never saw it, but it was wrong. It's the wrong approach. None of us should ever itch, never get physical in any way. Um, one way or the other. And, uh, and I just, I made the wrong choice of words. I made the wrong choice of everything, really. Um, even though I'm against, uh, people crossing the border, obviously, but, um, but, but that's not, it, it was not my place and it was not the right approach and it, it, it was pretty weird for me to behave that way.

BEAT

So..Paloma says she wants what’s best for both countries… but while she spends a ton of time involved in U.S. elections, she actually doesn’t get too deep into the politics of the country and city where she currently lives.

Voter Both Sides Paloma Clip 32
I haven't voted in Mexico recently because I was robbed of my, um, of my, uh, voter's registration card. I was in Tijuana and this guy put a knife to my face and he took my purse at a salon and my voter registration card was in there. But yeah, I'm, I'm legally able to vote in both countries. I didn't vote this past election because I didn't have my registration card. Are you just as involved in Mexican politics as you are in American? No, I'm involved in general, like, uh, general politics and, and, and, uh, in Mexico, not as far as local though, it's very dangerous here to be involved in local politics.

PALOMA FACEBOOK VIDEO CLIP
Hey guys...good afternoon, evening….

Last year, Facebook deactivated Paloma’s official “Paloma for Trump” page. They said she was breaking rules related to foreigners interfering in political campaigns.

Which is kinda funny right...I mean, she is a foreigner but she’s also a U.S. citizen.

She says she’s still fighting Facebook...she’s told them she’s a binational citizen...but that argument hasn’t made any headway yet.

PALOMA FACEBOOK VIDEO CLIP
Um so,

In the meantime, though, she’s started new Facebook pages and is slowly but surely building up a new following.

PALOMA VIDEO CLIP TO FADE
I spend a lot of time reading…

BEAT

Voter Both Sides David Clip 20
so when I went to vote, I went to like my, um, local voting booth. It was close to the, uh, the PO box where I was registered at.

David again, talking about the 2016 election…

And when I attempted to vote, I was not in the, and on the list, which was like, very curious, because of course I had just spent most of the summer registering people to vote. So of course I would have registered myself. And they were like, no, you're not on the list. And they gave me like a provisional ballot, I guess they call it. And it was like this little yellow slip and they give you an actual receipt that has the number on it. So you could go and check to see if you, if your vote was actually counted.

David checked…..and…..his vote didn’t go through.

What probably happened is that he used his PO Box number on his voter registration... And using PO Boxes in the address line isn’t actually allowed.

It was just a simple mistake on his end. But it really frustrated him.

Voter Both Sides David Clip 21
And so if I had already kind of like lost faith over electoral politics, then that was kind of like the last nail in the coffin, you know?

BEAT FADE

David says he’s lost so much faith in electoral politics that he isn’t voting in the U.S. presidential election this year. Not only because of his last failed attempt, but because he doesn’t like the choices he has.

He was a Bernie guy and he says he just cannot pivot to Biden.

Voter Both Sides David Clip 25
Federal electoral politics are just so disappointing. And yeah I don’t know it’s just very unmotivating. Um, the, the options that we currently have, and I know that some people will be very angry at me for saying that, but….., I don't know. It's just, uh, yeah, it's, it's just hard. It was just, it was very disheartening. And just to kind of see like, um, you know, I don't, I don't, I'm probably going to sound like a conspiracy nut to like most of your listeners, but. Too. Um, but yeah, just to see like the, the status quo kind of like coalesce around each other and that, like the only difference between the two candidates is how overtly misogynistic or how overtly racist one is over the other. Right?

BEATS

When it comes to politicians and elections in Mexico, David says he’s feeling just as disheartened and frustrated.

He’s not too fired up about any particular campaigns.

Voter Both Sides David Clip 30
It's been, it's kind of been very depressing the past couple of years to be a dual citizen.

BEATS

These days, David uses his political energy to get involved with local issues, working with nonprofits that he thinks can make a real impact.

Voter Both Sides David Clip 9
….you know right now the border is somewhat shut down and that's affecting, um, people's pockets on both sides of the border. And I understand that. Um, but then again, those are kind of like things that are happening at the federal level and kind of like outside of my reach, Um, so I'm much more interested in kind of like what I can do at the local level. Right…..

David is a professor living in El Paso, Texas, just a stone's throw away from the border and Juarez. So, he’s been introduced to a whole new grassroots network of folks doing work related to the border there.

His latest project is looking into getting migrant kids detained at the border access to education.

Voter Both Sides David Clip 27
…...Tornio is... um, were there, uh, were there housing, most of the, um, Child immigrants, um, which is again, a horrifying sentence out loud, um, is maybe I think like a 35, 40 minute drive away from where I'm currently sitting. Right. Um, and yeah, and so like the uptake in like people actually like driving out there and at least just like shouting and shouting support for the children. I don't want to like, um, split it too much, but I'm currently like trying to figure out something that we can do, like education wise to, um, at least have these kids get their basic schooling….

BEAT FADE

So...Olivia? She has been counting down the days until November 3.

Voter Both Sides Olivia Second Half Clip 26
I actually requested the day off so that I can go to vote that day.

Olivia is a private therapist now and she has patients in San Diego who might not appreciate her politics. So...she didn’t want to tell us outright who she’s voting for in the upcoming U.S. presidential election.

She did tell us about the issues that matter most to her, though….More and quicker pathways to citizenship is high up on her list, but also…

Voter Both Sides Olivia Second Half Clip 24
I strongly believe everybody deserves the right to have some human right to have healthcare. Okay. We can find ways of funding healthcare if other developed countries have it. Why can't we? We are America. the land of possibilities.
Voter Both Sides Olivia Second Half Clip 25
Um, we need to take care of the planet. whatever happens in the U S will fact, uh, South Africa will affect Argentina will affect Finland, the entire world. It's not us and them. It's all of us need to work together. Also, um, systemic discrimination. It is real. It is happening right now, in a lot of different places. Um, so I think it's important that black Americans are respected

BEAT

CAR AMBI

Voter Both Sides Olivia Audio Diaries Clip 6
I cannot conceive my life without going back and forth…

On her recent trip to Tijuana, Olivia was reminded of what she loves about being binational.

Voter Both Sides Olivia Audio Diaries Clip 5
Right now how fortunate I am that I have two worlds .... I have Mexico and I have the us, and I enjoy them both how different things are. Once we go across the border one way or the other, I have access to both cultures. They're very different than yet. The there's a lot of commonalities

BEAT

Olivia recorded hours and hours of audio diaries like this one for us...sharing her thoughts and exploring what it means to her to be able to vote in two countries.

I wish I could play more of them for you, but we just couldn’t fit it all in.

I did want to play one more, though. It’s sorta poetic. It resonated with me and my own feelings about being binational.

Voter Both Sides Olivia Audio Diaries Clip 18
I'm gonna go for a fairly short walk so you guys can enjoy.
the water
Different sound depending on where I stand...I guess in a way, some metaphor, uh, how things look like depending on where we're standing.Or the perspective that we see them from. So. This is one sound and one side of the bridge.Then I turned around and take one step. And this is the sound.Is the same water…..I'm on the same bridge. I turned around and it's one reality.I turned around again. I mean, it's a different one.This reminds me of how it feels to be a border town citizen.

BEATS

Next time on “Port of Entry”...

Black Expats BLACUGEES Clip 4
Omar: yeah. For, for me. Um, it was definitely the, the crucible, you know, of, um, of this uptick in violence against, uh, black bodies that was the deciding factor. as a father, I feel a responsibility to keep my family safe.and, um, For me, it was…..sigh….just logical. You know, it just made sense. Like, okay, we can't have safety here. We can't have peace here. Well, let's find a place where we can.

A story about Black expats….Black Americans who’ve left the U.S. to find refuge from racism. on the other side of the border.
Do us a favor, and if you like what you hear, pick up your phone and text three people you know who might enjoy the podcast, too. Go ahead...I’ll give you a minute...you can send them our web link, port of entry pod dot org and it’ll be easy to subscribe from there. Thanks in advance for your support.

Port of Entry is written and produced by Kinsee Morlan. Emily Jankowski is our director of sound design. Curtis Fox edits the show. Lisa Morissette is operations manager and John Decker is director of programming. Port of Entry is made possible (in part) by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people. I’m Alan Lilienthal. Thanks for listening.

Port of Entry podcast branding

Port of Entry

Border people often inhabit this in-between place. From KPBS and PRX, “Port of Entry” tells personal stories from this place — stories of love, hope, struggle and survival from border crossers, fronterizxs and other people whose lives are shaped by the wall.