Reynaldo Leaños Jr. / Texas Public Radio | KERA News

Reynaldo Leaños Jr. / Texas Public Radio

Reynaldo Leanos Jr. covers immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border for Texas Public Radio.

Prior to joining Texas Public Radio, Reynaldo was a freelance journalist in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas and in New York City. His work has appeared in Public Radio International’s The World and Global Nation, NBC News, NPR’s Latino USA, KUT’s Texas Standard and KUT.

He has an undergraduate degree from Texas State University, where he studied journalism and international studies. Leanos also has a master’s degree from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, where he specialized in international reporting.

As the U.S. continues to deal with COVID-19, a migrant camp along the southern border in Matamoros, Mexico, across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas,  is also bracing for what could be a deadly outbreak.


Charlene D’Cruz pulled 30 cents out of her pocket and asked her clients if they’ll need it to get across a turnstile at the Gateway International Bridge that connects Brownsville to Matamoros.


Thomas Cartwright ran along a chain link fence outside the runway at the Brownsville South Padre International Airport. He was trying to catch a glimpse of buses loading migrants onto a plane.

Ray Rodriguez is reading a book in Spanish to dozens of children who are gathered around him listening intently.

The kids are sitting on the floor and leaning on each other. 

For the past 18 days, a group of more than a dozen protesters have demonstrated outside a big white tent on the banks of the Rio Grande in Brownsville. 

 

 


Dozens of people gathered on Sunday in Matamoros, Mexico to protest the more than 2,500 asylum seekers living in their city in a tent encampment near the Gateway International Bridge.

Hundreds of red, blue and orange tents are scattered around the Gateway International Bridge that connects Brownsville, Texas, to Matamoros, Mexico, where more than 2,000 asylum seekers live. Children with their families have endured heat, cold and inclement weather for months. Such conditions are grinding down migrants' mental health.

The Trump administration has lifted a ban on public and press access to immigration hearings in tented courts in Brownsville and Laredo.

The Trump administration has expanded its new asylum claim review program to the Rio Grande Valley.

The Prompt Asylum Claim Review program, or PACR, has been in effect in El Paso since October.

Migrants in the PACR program are kept in U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities instead of detention centers run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The last Democratic presidential candidate from Texas — and the only Latino — has stepped off the political field, nearly one year since the former secretary of U.S. Housing and Urban Development and San Antonio mayor first entered the race.

For months, asylum seekers have waited at the U.S.-Mexico border under the Trump Administration’s Remain In Mexico policy  — and they’ll still be there throughout the holiday season. 


The Mexican government is attempting to clear out one of the tent encampments in Matamoros where more than 1,500 asylum seekers have been living for months. 


The Brownsville City Commission approved the creation of a task force on Tuesday night that will give the LGBTQ community a voice in addressing discrimination, health concerns and other related issues in the border city.


Officials in Matamoros, Mexico, are threatening to separate asylum seekers from their children if they don't leave a tent encampent of more than 1500 people near the Inernational Bridge that connects to Brownsville, Texas.

Amnesty International directors from around the world visited Matamoros, Mexico this weekend.


Thousands of asylum seekers in Matamoros, Mexico, across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, don’t have access to clean water. They have to use the Rio Grande for bathing, washing clothes and cooling off from the blistering heat. Migrants have developed skin infections, and some have drowned. But a group of volunteers is trying to make their lives better.


The Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” program forces asylum seekers who reach the southern border to wait in Mexico until their court date in the U.S. This has become an especially dangerous limbo for LGBTQ+ asylum seekers, who have reported violence and harassment against them.


More than 30,000 asylum seeking migrants have been returned to Mexico to await their day in immigration court — a process that can take months. This is part of the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy. The program says vulnerable populations may be excluded from the program, but many migrants who are considered vulnerable populations, including LGBTQ asylum seekers, are still being sent back to Mexico.


U.S. officials have sent back to Mexico more than 30,000 asylum-seeking migrants to wait for their immigration court dates. This is part of the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico program. Pregnant women are among some of the people sent back. But one attorney from the Rio Grande Valley pushed back at the policy. She tried to get her client paroled and back into Texas.


Tens of thousands of migrants are in limbo in Mexican border towns because of the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy. The migrants wait for months in sometimes-dangerous conditions before they may appear in a U.S. immigration court. So some volunteers decided to transform a problem into an opportunity. They opened a special school for migrant children in Matamoros so that the kids' education could continue.


The massacre in El Paso sent shockwaves across the country, and especially throughout the Rio Grande Valley. People in McAllen held a vigil on Wednesday to honor their fellow border city hundreds of miles away. At the event they expressed defiance and sadness. But they also expressed fear — fear that what happened in El Paso could someday happen to them.


Native American activists from across the country came to the Rio Grande Valley on Saturday to protest the treatment of migrants at the U.S. border, including children detention and family separation.


Vice President Mike Pence and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee visited a tent-like temporary detention facility in Donna and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Station in McAllen Friday.

The same day, groups across the country scheduled vigils to protest conditions at migrant detention facilities.

Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress will visit the Rio Grande Valley later this week.

Residents in the Rio Grande Valley gathered at vigils in McAllen and Brownsville on Sunday evening to remember the lives of Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez and his 23-month-old daughter, Angie Valeria.

The Salvadoran father and daughter drowned as they tried to cross the river between Matamoros and Brownsville last Sunday. Valeria’s mother, Tania Vanessa Avalos, watched as her family was swept away.

Associated Press

U.S. Border Patrol agents have located four bodies by the Rio Grande in Texas' Rio Grande Valley, near the U.S. border with Mexico. Three of the deceased were children — one toddler and two infants — and the other was a 20-year-old woman.

U.S. Border Patrol agents have located four bodies by the Rio Grande in Texas' Rio Grande Valley, near the U.S. border with Mexico. Three of the deceased were children — one toddler and two infants — and the other was a 20-year-old woman.

"It's an incredibly heartbreaking situation, which seems to happen far too often," said Special Agent in Charge Michelle Lee of the San Antonio FBI office.

Veronica G. Cardenas / Texas Public Radio

Residents of Laredo, Texas are reacting to President Trump’s threats to implement a new 5% tariff on all goods coming from Mexico. The president said the tariff will increase if Mexico doesn’t stop the flow of illegal immigration into the U.S.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to discuss the death of a migrant minor at the Weslaco Border Patrol station.

Giant tent structures have been erected in Texas to serve as short-term detention facilities to process a huge influx of families and unaccompanied minors from Central America arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The facilities are open Friday in El Paso, Texas, and in the state's Rio Grande Valley next to the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge.

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