immigration | KERA News

immigration

The last time Pablo saw his son was in Texas.

Pablo and his 7-year-old son crossed the Rio Grande illegally and turned themselves in to Border Patrol agents. They were separated by force, and Pablo was deported back to Guatemala — without his son. Immigration officials tried to assure him that his son would follow in a week.

That was three months ago.

"You can't live without a child," Pablo said through an interpreter.

The Trump administration has come up with a framework for reuniting families whose children are still in government custody. Some of their parents have been released into the U.S. and others are now in other countries.

In documents filed Thursday, government officials told U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw that 559 children between the ages of 5 and 17 have yet to be reunited with their families. Of those, 365 have parents who were deported, and officials have contact information for all but five.

Updated on Aug. 10 at 4:45 p.m. ET

Immigration officials have returned a mother and daughter to the United States after they were deported, which had angered a federal judge who was hearing their lawsuit.

The Pew Research Center estimates that there are about 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States — and that approximately two-thirds of them have been here for more than a decade.

Journalist Frank Foer says that for many years, there was a tacit agreement among politicians of both parties that there would be a pathway to citizenship for many of the long-term undocumented immigrants.

Updated Aug. 8 at 5:24 p.m. ET

Immigration lawyers are challenging the Trump administration's crackdown on asylum-seekers in court.

Under a sweeping new policy announced in June by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the administration says domestic abuse and gang violence should "generally" not be considered grounds for asylum claims.

A federal judge said the Trump administration's plan for reunifying hundreds of migrant families who were separated at the Southern border under its "zero tolerance" immigration policy is disappointing.

U.S. District Judge Dana M. Sabraw said that he will order the government to appoint a single point person to oversee the reunification process. He indicated that his order will come no later than Monday.

In America today, communities are sorting themselves into like-minded bubbles. There are red teams and blue teams, where you're less likely to run into people who disagree with you.

Lately, immigration has been a flashpoint for debate.

But in the border town of McAllen, Texas, it's a part of everyday life.

Carlos Garcia is an immigration lawyer. Ben Wilson is a border patrol agent. Garcia fights to keep people in the country — some of the same people Wilson might arrest.

Editor's Note: This story contains graphic language.

A former worker at a shelter for immigrant youths in Arizona has been accused of molesting eight teenage boys over a nearly yearlong period at the facility, according to federal records cited by nonprofit news site ProPublica.

Eric Gay / AP

The U.S. birth rate hit an all-time low last year, and if that trend continues, the lack of a robust workforce will start to drag the economy down.

George Mason University professor and Brookings Institution fellow Jack Goldstone says loosening up restrictions on immigration could be the solution. 

Recent news stories have been filled with the joyous reunions of migrant parents who had been separated from their children at the Southwest border. Yet hundreds of families were reunited only to be detained again, this time together.

Inside one of those detention centers in Texas, weary fathers are now staging a hunger strike to highlight their plight.

President Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump is again speaking out against the separation of children and parents accused of illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

At an Axios News Shapers event in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Trump was asked for her thoughts on the separations that occurred as a result of her father's immigration policies.

The interviewer noted that some White House officials saw that as a "low point" in the Trump administration.

Julian Aguilar / Texas Tribune

When the state of Texas successfully halted a proposed 2014 federal immigration program to aid adult immigrants, the state's attorneys were able to convince federal courts Texas would be irreparably harmed by the implementation of the sweeping initiative.

For weeks, the Trump administration has faced scorching criticism for separating migrant families at the border, and detaining immigrant children in inhumane conditions.

On Tuesday, the administration pushed back.

Matthew Albence, a top official with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, even compared family detention centers to "summer camps."

"We have officers in these facilities," he said. "I think the best way to describe them is to be more like a summer camp.

Judge Orders Government To Release Immigrant Kids From Troubled Texas Shelter

Jul 31, 2018
Pu Ying Huang for The Texas Tribune

A judge has ordered the federal government to stop drugging immigrant children without proper consent and to remove them from a problem-plagued south Texas shelter.

Elena Santizo sat by the departure gate in El Paso, Texas on Friday with a rosary around her neck, waiting nervously to board a plane for the first time in her life. Simply riding the escalator up to airport security gave the 39-year-old mother the jitters. She opted for the stairs instead.

"To tell my story is difficult," she said. "Everything I've lived through, so much, ever since I left Guatemala."

Updated at 9:05 p.m. ET

The federal judge who ordered the reunification of thousands of migrant families says the Trump administration deserves "great credit" for its efforts.

But Judge Dana Sabraw also faulted the administration for "losing" hundreds of parents, leaving a significant number of families separated a day after the court-imposed deadline to reunite them.

Gregory Bull / AP

Shy children were given a meal and a plane or bus ticket to locations around the U.S. as nonprofit groups tried to smooth the way for kids reunited with their parents following their separations at the U.S. Mexico border.

The U.S. has freed journalist Emilio Gutierrez Soto from a holding facility in El Paso, Texas, hours before a federal judge's deadline for the government to produce documents to explain why it detained the Mexican asylum-seeker for nearly eight months.

It was the second time border officials have detained Gutierrez, who's been living in the U.S. for the past 10 years as he seeks asylum.

Reynaldo Leal / The Texas Tribune

Hundreds of kids are still separated from their migrant parents, despite Thursday's deadline for the Trump administration to reunite families.

Investigative reporter Neena Satija has been following one of those families — Marcos, Sandy and their four children — for the Texas Tribune and Reveal. Satija talked with KERA about what she learned while reporting the story. 

Texas Tribune

A young Guatemalan slept on a bridge for at least three days and nights while attempting to seek asylum. His wife and children had been separated after crossing that bridge just weeks earlier. This is the story of a family that faced seemingly every possible hurdle under Trump's immigration crackdown.

Eric Gay / AP

As the government faces a deadline to reunite hundreds of families, it is shifting the responsibility of their well-being to faith-based groups primarily in Texas and Arizona.

More than 450 migrant parents who were separated from their children at the border are no longer in the United States — but the government can’t be sure how many of them were deported and how many may have “voluntarily” left because of confusion over how those individuals were “coded,” Sarah Fabian, a lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice, said Tuesday at a court conference in San Diego.

Julián Aguilar/The Texas Tribune

More than three dozen environmental, faith-based and immigrant rights groups are urging the federal government to extend the public-comment period for construction of the border wall, arguing that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security isn’t acting in good faith.

Rotten sandwich meat that’s turned green or black; noodle soup cooked so little that the noodles are still hard; drinking water that smells like chlorine, Clorox or “just bad.” Cramped, cold conditions; tearful separations of children and mothers; guards who said Mexicans won’t ever receive asylum in the United States.

Bebeto Matthews / Associated Press

An immigrant father from Guatemala dotes over his despondent teenage daughter during a weekly 10-minute phone call, while other parents wait weeks for the phone to ring.

A mother in Louisiana has phone video chats with her detained 5-year-old son in Texas, while a Honduran asylum-seeker had actual face time with his little girl, visiting her in person. He made sure to bring along a McDonald's hamburger to share.

5 Facts To Know About Migrant Family Reunification

Jul 20, 2018

A federal court in San Diego has given the government until July 26 to reunite thousands of children with their parents. It has been a chaotic, much disputed process, but a process that is undeniably underway. Here are five questions about family reunification answered:

1. When did family separations start?

Since his inauguration, President Donald Trump has kept his campaign promises of tougher immigration policies, leading to a constant flow of policy changes — from scaling back on programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to his “zero-tolerance” policy along the border that’s led to separation of parents and children attempting to cross into the U.S.

All of these individual actions amount to a broader strategy that is now becoming clear.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Migrants detained in recent months at the U.S.-Mexico border describe being held in Customs and Border Protection facilities that are unsanitary and overcrowded, receiving largely inedible food and being forced to drink foul-smelling drinking water.

Documents filed Monday in U.S. District Court in California and viewed by NPR late Tuesday contain interviews with some 200 individuals detained under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, many of whom related poor conditions at the centers.

From Texas Standard:

A legal services nonprofit based in San Antonio has gained a national profile – fast and in a big way: Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, or RAICES. For many who are frustrated with the immigration policies of the Trump administration – especially family separation – donating to RAICES became a way to do something. The nonprofit ended up collecting more than $20 million through a Facebook fundraiser.

Little Food, High Fevers: Three Border Volunteers Allege Mistreatment Of Detainees

Jul 17, 2018
Courtesy of Yvette De Luna

We’re learning more about how migrants are being treated at the Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas. Some volunteers from Texas and elsewhere are sounding an alarm, alleging migrants are not receiving proper health and medical care.

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