Axios San Antonio

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🥳 It's Monday. But this week ends with a party!

  • Yup, we're talking about Fiesta.

Today's weather: Mostly cloudy and windy with a high near 87.

Situational awareness: Today is tax day. Have you filed yet?

Today's newsletter is 859 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: FAFSA nightmare

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Just a few days remain for Texas high school seniors to apply for federal student aid for a shot at the best possible financial aid package from colleges.

  • But far fewer students have submitted the form this year than in past years as delays and glitches plague the process.

Why it matters: Because the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process is working so poorly, some students face the possibility of choosing a college without knowing whether they'll be able to afford it.

How it works: This is the third academic year that Texas high school seniors are required to fill out the FAFSA.

  • The form is how the federal government, states and colleges determine financial aid eligibility.

State of play: The new version of the form was supposed to streamline the notoriously difficult process and expand aid eligibility — but its rollout has been disastrous.

  • The U.S. education secretary sent a letter to governors April 9 asking them to adjust state financial aid deadlines, budget for potential state grant aid increases and ensure relevant agencies can process aid efficiently.

Threat level: The issues have led to delays in processing financial aid offers, complicating college decisions.

What they're doing: The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board was monitoring the situation ahead of today's deadline, but officials hadn't decided as of late last week whether to push the deadline back for a third time, spokesperson Mike Eddleman told Axios.

  • Texas A&M University, meanwhile, moved the confirmation deadline for admissions from May 1 to June 1, spokesperson Delisa Falks told Axios yesterday.
  • The University of Texas did not respond to requests for comment.

By the numbers: 40% of Texas seniors had completed the application as of March 29, according to the National College Attainment Network.

  • At the same time last year, nearly 60% had done so.

Flashback: Texas' high school class of 2023 left $443 million in Pell grants on the table, per NCAN.

  • More than $4 billion went unclaimed nationally.

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2. Citizens fear Trump mass deportation threats

Salvadoran immigrants at Willacy Detention facility in Raymondville, Texas, were searched in 2008 before being deported. Photo: Jose Cabezas/AFP via Getty Images

More than half of U.S. Latino adults worry any new mass deportations would target all Latinos regardless of legal status.

Why it matters: Former President Trump has promised mass deportations if he wins a second term, and past efforts have swept up U.S. citizens, creating generations of trauma.

By the numbers: 54% of Mexicans and Mexican Americans — the targets of mass deportations in the 20th Century — said they worried that any new mass deportation plan would target all Latinos, including U.S. citizens and lawful residents.

  • Overall, 52% of Latinos surveyed said they worry that all Latinos will be targets of the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants.

Catch up quick: Trump's plan to crack down on immigrants includes using a range of tools to deport millions of people, including obscure laws and military funds.

  • Trump wants to mobilize ICE agents — along with the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, federal prosecutors, the National Guard, and even state and local law enforcement officers — to carry out deportations, Axios previously reported.

Flashback: State and local governments during the Great Depression "repatriation" pressured Mexicans and Mexican Americans to "return" to Mexico amid high unemployment in the U.S. and violent anti-Mexican sentiment. About a million people, most of whom were coerced, left.

  • The Eisenhower-era "Operation Wetback" used military-style tactics to round up 1.3 million Mexicans and Mexican Americans across the country in the 1950s for the then-largest deportation operation in U.S. history. "Wetback" is a racial slur for Mexicans.
  • Both mass deportations snatched up American citizens, including a future World War II hero and Holocaust survivor who had been racially profiled.

3. Inside the Loop

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🥞 Beau's Tiny Diner will replace the original Little Em's restaurant in Southtown. (Instagram)

💨 The first weekend of Fiesta could be a chilly one as a strong cold front moves in. (Express-News 🔒)

🪩 Alamo City Barbarella's official grand opening weekend starts Thursday. (SA Current)

4. 🏅 A Fiesta medal match

The 2024 Fiesta medals for SAWS, left, and CPS Energy, right. Photos: Courtesy of San Antonio Water System and CPS Energy

Our inaugural battle of the medals is here.

Why it matters: Fiesta medals are ingrained in San Antonio cultura, and we want to celebrate them with our readers.

How it works: We've set up a bracket for you to vote for your favorite 2024 Fiesta medals from some well-known city entities.

  • Each day in this newsletter, we'll reveal which medals got the votes to move on.
  • We'll crown the Fiesta medal winner on Friday.

Click here to visit our website and vote for your preferred medal.

  • Voting closes at 2pm today.

Find medal images for our first matchups online and below:

5. Invest in Local Journalism

Illustration: Andrew Caress/Axios

Quality journalism is essential for a thriving community.

Support local journalism by joining Axios San Antonio as a member.

  • For $50+ a year, you'll gain access to exclusive insider notes and help us expand our coverage of the issues that matter most to you.

Together, we can make a difference in keeping our community informed and engaged.

Thank you for your consideration.

6. Party time protocols

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Speaking of Fiesta, we're curious about your traditions when it comes to the city's biggest bash.

  • Do you go to NIOSA on a certain day with your family?
  • Do you have a special game plan for parade-watching?

What's next: Hit reply and fill us in.

  • Responses may be shared in a future newsletter.

The bottom line: Traditions are the heartbeat of Fiesta.

Thanks to our editor Chloe Gonzales and copy editors Steven Patrick and Yasmeen Altaji.

🧘🏻‍♀️ Madalyn is taking it easy, enjoying the calm before the storm that is Fiesta.

🤠 Megan had a great weekend traipsing around San Antonio with her family.