MXLAN immigration panel livestream at 7 p.m. CST today

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McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — A “balanced, nuanced and substantive” panel discussion on immigration issues affecting the Southwest border is expected tonight in McAllen.

The event is hosted by Texas Monthly magazine and will be streamed live at 7 p.m. CST at The panel discussion, which kicks off the City of McAllen’s five-day MXLAN Festival celebrating Mexican art, culture and issues.

“It’s intended to be a current substantive conversation about what’s going on at the border,” said Tim Taliaferro, chief innovation officer at Texas Monthly. “We’ve assembled some experts from around the state, people who are familiar with the various pressure that are at work on the border who can talk about those with expertise and nuance in a non-partisan, substantive way.”

Taliaffero promises the discussion will be “non-hysterical,” adding that too often in today’s divisive culture it’s hard to discuss immigration without provoking chaotic conversations.

“The language around the border gets inflated quickly and so we want it to be something that is smart and direct but there’s no hyperventilating. It’s a bunch of smart people engaging on a complicated issue and trying to surface something that everybody who comes to could leave with a better understanding of the issues,” he said.

Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, is seen July 15, 2019, helping an immigrant at the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas, which her organization runs. (Sandra Sanchez/Border Report file photo.)

The discussion will be moderated by Senior Editor Carlos Sanchez. Panelists include: Houston immigration lawyer Charles Foster; Dr. Colleen Bridger, San Antonio assistant city manager; Eddie Aldrete, chairman of the National Immigration Forum, and Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.

Sister Norma, as she is familiarly known in South Texas, since 2014 has run the Humanitarian Respite Center in downtown McAllen, which has helped over 150,000 families. Border Report has visited the facility several times and wrote this feature on this shelter, which has been nationally and internationally recognized, including by the Pope, the United Nations and the White House.

Among issues expected to be discussed tonight include the Trump Administration’s metering of asylum seekers who are allowed to cross international ports of entry on the Southwest border; the president’s desire to enact a third-country asylum rule, which would require immigrants to claim asylum in the first country they enter after leaving their own, and the condition of detention facilities where thousands of immigrants are being held.

“This issue, if nothing else is a big, big story that affects all of us,” Taliaferro said. “Tune in tonight. I think you’ll find it worth your time.”

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The mission of is to provide real-time delivery of the untold local stories about people living, working and migrating along the U.S. border with Mexico. The information is gathered by experienced and trusted Nexstar Media Group journalists hired specifically to cover the border.