Border & Immigration | KERA News

Border & Immigration

Downtown El Paso
Julián Aguilar / The texas Tribune

Early Friday afternoon, Candelaria Pineda made her way through the U.S. Customs checkpoint in this border city before hurrying north toward the dozens of small shops that line downtown.

She crossed from her native Ciudad Juárez just hours after President Trump and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador agreed to to allow only non-essential travel across the U.S.-Mexico border in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Immigration attorney Taylor Levy stands near a port of entry in Ciudad Juárez, where she offers legal advice to asylum seekers on their way to U.S. immigration court.
Mallory Falk / KERA News

To slow the spread of COVID-19, the federal government has recommended social distancing. Most of America has hunkered down, but U.S. immigration courts remain open.

Hundreds of asylum-seekers who reach the Texas-Mexico border aren't getting a chance to make their case in U.S. immigration court.

Instead, the migrants — mostly women and children — are put on planes to Guatemala and told to ask for asylum in that country.

There's no dispute on whether Jesus Mesa Jr. killed 15-year-old Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca.

He did. And there's a video of it.

In 2010 Mesa, an on-duty U.S. Border Patrol agent who was at the border in El Paso, Texas, shot Hernández at least twice — once in the face. At the time, the boy, a Mexican national, was on the southern side of the border in Ciudad Juarez.

Oliver de Ros / Associated Press

After he was involved in a fender bender with a gang member, the Honduran delivery driver was in trouble: The accident wasn’t his fault, but he couldn’t pay the damages, and the other driver threatened to kill him

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.

F-35 fighter plane
Abby Livingston / The Texas Tribune

The Department of Defense's plan to divert $3.83 billion in military spending to border wall construction, announced Thursday, drew predictable condemnation from Texas Democrats. For Republicans in U.S. House districts affected by the reallocation, responses were more nuanced.

A visit to the now-defunct Fort Brown Memorial Golf Course in Brownsville, Texas, is a cautionary tale of how Trump's border wall can create dead zones. The clubhouse is shuttered, par signs are fading and the once-manicured greens are fields of weeds.

In 2008, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, working with the University of Texas at Brownsville, built a security fence on the southern edge of the campus that effectively walled off the popular golf course from the rest of the city.

Agua Stations in the South Texas Desert Saves Lives is a journalism comic based on a Texas Public Radio news story by David Martin Davies.  The editor is Mauricio Cordero.  

This is part of an anthology project, BORDERx: A Crisis in Graphic Detail.  

As Access To Asylum Narrows, These Alternatives Are Some Immigrants’ Only Hope

Feb 10, 2020
migrants crossing Rio Grande
Mani Albrecht / U.S. Customs and Border Protection

For most migrants fleeing violence or persecution, getting asylum protections in the U.S. has never been easy. 

ICE Office Washington
Shutterstock

The mother of a 5-year-old Guatemalan boy sued U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement over the medical care he has received in detention for a head injury suffered before the family was arrested.

Robin Jerstad / Texas Tribune

Professor Michael Ortiz stood, hands clasped, in a Uvalde classroom, waiting for students in another room 75 miles away in Del Rio to fix a broken monitor so they could continue to watch a broadcast of his math lecture.

Screenshot of the surveillance video footage.
NPR

In the early morning of June 12, 2017, a group of eight Central American migrants decided to go on a hunger strike to protest conditions at the immigration detention center where they were being held in California.

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. 

 

 


Migrants look over their documents at a makeshift migrant camp at the base of the Paso del Norte International Bridge in Ciudad Juárez on Oct. 3. Migrants wait close to the port of entry so they won't lose their spot in line to legally cross into the U.S.
Ivan Pierre Aguirre / The Texas Tribune

Oscar, who was living in Ciudad Juárez after fleeing Honduras, said he was badly beaten in September on his way to find work simply for being Central American. His teeth were knocked out and he was repeatedly clubbed in the head.

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.

Rodney Scott, seen here with President Trump, will be taking over the U.S. Border Patrol according to an announcement from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Associated Press

The Trump administration has named a new head of the U.S. Border Patrol.

Rodney Scott will take over for Carla Provost, who is retiring, according to an announcement obtained Friday by The Associated Press from Mark Morgan, acting head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

David Xol-Cholom of Guatemala hugs his son Byron at Los Angeles International Airport as they reunite after being separated about a year and a half ago during the Trump administration's wide-scale separation of immigrant families.
Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press

Nine parents who were deported as the Trump administration separated thousands of migrant families landed back into the U.S. late Wednesday to reunite with children they had not seen in a year and a half.

Gov. Abbott Says Texas Nonprofits Should Focus On Homeless, Not Refugees

Jan 22, 2020
protest signs in dumpster
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott dug his heels in Tuesday in a TV interview explaining why Texas will be the only state in the nation to reject refugees seeking resettlement, saying that aid groups working with refugees should instead prioritize other Texans in need, including the state's homeless population.

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 pricetag for President Trump's border wall has topped $11 billion — or nearly $20 million a mile — to become the most expensive wall of its kind anywhere in the world.

In a status report last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is overseeing wall construction, reported that $11 billion has been identified since Trump took office to construct 576 miles of a new "border wall system."

Barbed wire fencing is shown behind a sign in English and Spanish in a recreation yard at a detention center in Tacoma, Washington.
Associated Press

One month after winning her release from immigration detention, a transgender woman from El Salvador was arrested and taken back to the same jail because the U.S. government is appealing the judge’s decision, the woman’s lawyers said Friday.

Government contractors erect a section of Pentagon-funded border wall along the Colorado River in Yuma, Ariz. Defense officials say the Department of Homeland Security has asked the Pentagon to fund the construction of 270 miles of border wall this year.
Associated Press

The Department of Homeland Security has asked the Pentagon to fund the construction of 270 miles of border wall this year as part of a counter-drug effort, defense officials said Thursday. 

Migrants make camp at a makeshift migrant camp at the base of Paso del Norte International Bridge in Ciudad Juárez on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019.
Ivan Pierre Aguirre / The Texas Tribune

Nicolas Palazzo can’t clone himself. And even if he could, it would still be impossible for the El Paso-based immigration attorney to provide legal services to the thousands of migrants waiting in the border city for their asylum hearings in the United States.

From left, El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wait to greet President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump as they arrive in El Paso in August.
Associated Press

A federal judge in Maryland has blocked the Trump administration's executive order allowing state and local governments to turn away refugees from resettling in their communities.

Over the past 41 years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been buying up land on the lower Texas-Mexico border to protect one of the most biologically diverse regions in North America from developers and farmers.

But the Rio Grande Valley of Texas is a hotspot for illegal immigration and drug smuggling, as well as biodiversity. That's why the Trump administration is planning to build 110 miles of border wall through the valley (which is actually a river delta).

Border Wall in Yuma, Arizona
Matt York / Associated Press

Crews could start building a private border wall in South Texas within the coming days following a federal judge’s ruling Thursday that lifted a restraining order against the project.

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

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