One of the amazing things about podcasts is how they can bring context to a complicated topic or a window into a person’s (or community’s life). The current debate around the United States/Mexico border is one example of this. Podcasts like Throughline, Latino USA, and many others have provided context, history, and personal stories around the border in ways that allow others to better understand what is currently going on. For a list of some of these episodes, you can follow the list I made on Podchaser here.
Latino USA [Various Episodes]
Latino USA is an NPR and Futuro Media Group production. In addition to conversations with folks like Melissa Fumero, Stephanie Beatriz, Ángela Aguilar, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Latino USA covers topics like film representation, political conversations, historical events like NAFTA and the 1968 East L.A. walkouts, and so much more.
- For Native Americans, US-Mexico Border is an ‘Imaginary Line’ [March 19, 2019] [Article]
- Stranded in Tijuana [March 15, 2019]
- 24 Hours at the Border [March 12, 2019]
- How Artists Can Shape Understand of the U.S.-Mexico Border [January 18, 2018] [Article]
This American Life [Various Episodes and Clips]
This American Life is a long-running and fairly popular NPR radio show and podcast. Every weekend, Ira Glass and the This American Life team share stories from the US, other parts of the Americas, and the people who live here. Here are some of the many stories they’ve shared about immigration and the border:
- Prologue: The One Thing You’re Not Supposed To Do [June 21, 2018]
- A young, undocumented man intentionally turns himself in and gets arrested.
- Act One (Breaking the Ice): The One Thing You’re Not Supposed To Do [June 21, 2018]
- The stories of other undocumented folks also intentionally getting arrested.
- The Border Between America and America (Act Two of ‘A Front’) [Nov 21, 2014]
- Prologue: Change You Can Maybe Believe In [June 29, 2018]
- A lawyer trying to reunite a father and his 12-year-old daughter after they were separated at the border because of the ‘zero-tolerance’ immigration policy.
- Let Me Count The Ways [Sept 14, 2018]
- All the different and small ways that the current presidential administration is cracking down on immigration across many agencies.
- RELATED: For many waiting in Tijuana, a mysterious notebook is the key to seeking asylum by Cindy Carcamo, The L.A. Times
- Act One (Where Have You Gone, Barbara Jordan? Our Nation Turns Its Lonely Eyes to You.): Before Things Went to Hell [Jan 11, 2019]
- Act Four (We Keep the Wall Between Us As We Go): The Walls [March 16, 2018]
- EXTRA: We Deported Half a Million People to Mexico in the 1930s. Did It Create Jobs? [Dec 21, 2017]
Throughline: The Border (Episode 7)
Throughline is a new NPR podcast, in which Ramtin Arablouei and Rund Abdelfatah talk weekly about the history missing in current event conversations. Episode seven is a relatively short but still informative episode about the US/Mexico border.
The Daily from the New York Times [Various Episodes]
The Daily is a daily news show that releases in-depth conversations about important news stories each weekday. Here are some of the more recent episodes on immigration and the border:
- Undocumented and Working for Trump [Dec 13, 2018]
- The Scars of Family Separation [Dec 26, 2018]
- Is There a Crisis at the Border? [Jan 7, 2019]
- Dispatches From the Border, Part 1 [Jan 13, 2019]
- Dispatches From the Border, Part 2 [Jan 28, 2019]
Do you want to learn more about what is going on at the border? The podcasts and episodes listed above are by no means the only audio productions on the issue and there are many other forms of media that address what is going on. Here are some related media if you want to dig deeper into the issue:
This 2014 book takes an in-depth look at Homeland Security, Border Patrol, and what life looks like at the border. In a review of the book for the L.A. Times, Tony Perry writes that the book is a “scathing and deeply reported examination of the U.S. Border Patrol” and that Miller argues throughout the book “that the agency has gone rogue since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, trampling on the dignity and rights of the undocumented with military-style tactics”.
This project from NPR isn’t really a podcast but an interactive site based on a two-week trip several NPR folks took along the border. ‘Border Land’ is from 2014 but still offers context, stories, and so much more to learn about the history and people affected most by immigration and border policies.
Overall, there is so much history, information, stories, and more around the US/Mexico border. Learning about this complicated issue will take time but can allow for a more empathetic and thorough understanding. The above podcasts and other media are just a start to that journey and there are, of course, more podcasts, episodes, books, articles, and other forms of media that take a look at the border.
The featured image on this post is from The Culture Group’s 2013 statement on immigration. For the last few years, monarch butterflies have been symbols for immigration, coming in part from the documentary ‘Migration is Beautiful’ by artist and activist Favianna Rodriguez.
Are there other podcasts and resources that should be on this list? Let me know!