Fiesta Protesta featured on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

LAJITAS – The U.S.-Mexico border in Brewster County takes the spotlight in one of the latest episodes of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Correspondent Michael Rubens came to West Texas in May to attend this year’s Voices from Both Sides, which takes place in the middle of the Rio Grande near Lajitas, Texas and Paso Lajitas, Mexico. This was the seventh year that the event, also known as the Fiesta Protesta, brought Americans and Mexicans together with swimming, dancing and music from both sides of the border.

In the segment that aired on July 24, host Samantha Bee said she sent Rubens to find out if there’s truth to President Donald Trump and Fox News’ rhetoric about the southern border. What Rubens found was a celebration of two countries.

Voices from Both Sides started in 2013, years after the events of 9/11 closed the informal crossings in Lajitas, Boquillas, Redford and Candelaria. Some use the event to reunite with family that live directly across the river, rather than drive over an hour to the closest official border entries in Presidio, Texas and Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Mexico. Event founder Jeff Haislip tells Rubens in the television segment that Fiesta Protesta is “an act of civil disobedience with a party.”

Familiar West Texas faces in the clip include Marfa resident Allison Scott standing with Fr. Michael Wallens from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Marfa and Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande Bishop Michael Hunn as they give the Holy Eucharist before the festivities.

Haislip also points out to Rubens that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents were monitoring the event from a distance. Haislip met with CPB prior to Voices From Both Sides and was asked to share a reminder that it is illegal to enter the U.S. at the Lajitas crossing, and those who do could be arrested. Some were, as CBP made five arrests and seized one vehicle that day.

The five-minute segment about Voices from Both Sides can be seen online at or on Youtube at The Emmy Award-winning political satire TV show airs new episodes every Wednesday night on TBS.