/ Modified apr 5, 2019 2:54 p.m.

Immigration Surge & Public Health; Farming Challenges; Teen Podcasters

Plus, a roundtable discussion about how journalists should adapt to an increasingly skeptical public.

This week the southern border was once again front and center on the national stage with visits from President Trump and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Their push for increased security comes as Customs and Border Protection says facilities used to process immigrants are at capacity due to the ongoing surge in families from Central America.

Last week the Border Patrol Yuma Sector released a statement saying it began releasing detainees on their own recognizance with a notice to appear in court. The agency's Tucson Sector is doing the same. It issued a statement saying it is continuing to coordinate with local nongovernmental organizations to "minimize the impact of these releases on the community."

The Border Patrol has called these releases "unprecedented," raising questions about what considerations, if any, public health experts should take into account. Arizona 360 learned more about the issue from Kathryn Tucker, a research specialist with the Arizona Prevention Research Center at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. Tucker dispelled falsehoods about any potential health risks connected to large groups of migrants entering the U.S.

"The countries of origin of many of these migrants have higher vaccination rates than even we have in some states of the U.S.," Tucker said. "In terms of risks they pose to others, it's just nonexistent."

Federal lawmakers may soon vote on a drought contingency plan. Farmers are among the many water users who will have to adapt to a future with less water from the Colorado River. The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension establishes partnerships between the UA and communities related to agriculture and health sciences. It has offices in every county of the state. Associate Dean Jeff Silvertooth explained how agriculture manages in the desert given the proposed drought contingency plan.

Members of Generation Z, which refers to those born after 1997, are growing up and taking stock of the world around them. Two such teens include Grace Proebsting, 17, and Rose Long, 18, whose interest in economics led them to launch their own podcast called "Gosh Darn Podcast", which explores how related issues impact Arizonans. They were encouraged to create a podcast for their varsity economics club at University High School. Arizona 360 got a look behind the scenes at how the teens produce an episode. Issues covered by the podcast include the midterm election, immigration and homelessness.

Listen to episodes of the "Gosh Darn Podcast" here.

In what's become an increasingly divisive political climate, the term "fake news" has become a common way to slam the press. A longstanding Gallup poll that surveys Americans' confidence in U.S. institutions found that out of 15 groups, trust in television news and newspapers ranked near the bottom.

Arizona 360 explored the issue of how journalists should respond and adapt to heightened skepticism of the industry. Lorraine Rivera got insight from Dylan Smith, editor and publisher of the Tucson Sentinel, and Susan Swanberg, assistant professor at the University of Arizona School of Journalism.

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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