Lorne Matalon

Freelance Reporter

Lorne Matalon is the 2016-2017 Journalism Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin and a Vermont resident. Prior to his fellowship, he was the Texas correspondent for the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of NPR member stations focused on the Mexico-US border and Latin America. He is currently a contributor to CBC Radio and files regularly for Marketplace.

In addition to the border, Matalon has reported from Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Panama and multiple locations in Mexico. He began reporting from Latin America in 2007 from Mexico City for The World, co-produced by the BBC World Service & Public Radio International. Matalon's series on killings and land displacement driven by energy development in borderland Mexico was awarded a 2016 National Edward R Murrow Award for Investigative Reporting.

His articles and photographs have appeared in the Boston Globe, the San Diego Union-Tribune, La Recherche, Paris and The World Today, published by Chatham House, London and ReVista: The Harvard Review of Latin America. He has produced three television documentaries; "Amazon War, " "Sudan: Freedom for Sale" and "Guantanamo."

Matalon has a BA in American History from Middlebury College and an MA from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.

 

Ways to Connect

U.S. Border Patrol agent Richard Ross near the international border along Lake Memphremagog.
Lorne Matalon / VPR

Over the first weekend in April, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested 20 people for entering the country illegally in Vermont, New Hampshire and New York.

The international border between Quebec, on the right, and the U.S. in Derby Line, Vermont. As the nation focuses on the southern border with Mexico, some people are concerned about the potential for terrorism coming to the U.S. from the northern border.
Lorne Matalon / VPR

Along the northern border where Vermont, New Hampshire and New York meet Canada, U.S. Customs and Border Protection pilot Gerhardt Perry routinely flies an infrared camera-equipped Cessna 206 on patrols that can last up to four hours.

The Montreal Aerospace Innovation Forum is the industry's stage for promoting new art  products and improved manufacturing processes. This robotic arm is used in multiple applications.
Lorne Matalon / VPR

Every two years, the aerospace industry networks for a week in Montreal at the Montreal Aerospace Innovation Forum.  This year, seven Vermont aerospace companies were in attendance, looking for business.

Syrup producer David Hall stands outside near Lac Brome, Québec.
Lorne Matalon / For VPR

While Vermont is by far the highest producing maple syrup state in the United States, 70 percent of the world's maple syrup is made in Québec.

And that's where the benchmark global price for bulk maple syrup — the price paid by processors to Vermont's maple syrup producers — is set each year by a powerful, but legal, cartel.

Bob Sabolefski, a small batch syrup producer in Stowe, pours sap from one bucket to another in the woods.
Lorne Matalon / For VPR

Demand for maple syrup and maple products is growing by about 6 to 8 percent per year globally. The prospect of that kind of return is drawing in investors to Vermont like moths to a flame.

Mike Myers runs a U.S.-owned mass assembly factory, or maquila, in Reynosa, Mexico. Myers is seated at a desk with a Mexican and American flag in foreground.
Lorne Matalon / For VPR

There are fears in Mexico that NAFTA's collapse would seriously damage the country’s economy, not to mention exports from the U.S. and Canada to Mexico. That includes exports of clothing and microelectronics from Vermont.

Jean-Marc Landry, owner of Pratiko, holds up a wheelchair.
Lorne Matalon / For VPR

The sixth round of negotiations on NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, is underway in Montréal. The outcome of the talks could have a significant impact on Vermont businesses that export goods to Canada and Mexico.

The U.S. has ended a temporary residency program for almost 60,000 Haitians who had been allowed to legally enter the United States after an earthquake in 2010. The program, called temporary protected status, allows people from nations hit by conflict or natural disaster to remain legally but temporarily in the U.S. for up to 18 months. TPS has often been extended, allowing some people to remain in the U.S. legally for several years.

Migrant advocate Esther Guillaume helps arrange housing for two men from Nigeria who crossed illegally into Canada in November 2017.
Lorne Matalon / For VPR

The flow of people seeking refugee status in Canada has grown exponentially in recent months. More people have walked into the province of Quebec since August than in all of 2016 across the entire length of the Canadian border.

Lorne Matalon / For VPR

Washington D.C. has ended a temporary residency program for almost 60,000 Haitians allowed to legally enter the United States following an earthquake in 2010. The affected Haitians will have to leave the U.S. by 2019. The program has also been revoked for 2,000 Nicaraguans and it's unclear if other groups, including 300,000 Salvadorans, will be allowed to remain.