Border & Immigration | KERA News

Border & Immigration

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.

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.

From Texas Standard:

In 2019, the U.S.-Mexico border topped the news, in part, because of the promise that President Donald Trump had made to build a wall along it. While Trump's border wall continues to be a popular topic today, the construction of barriers along the border is nothing new.

Migrant family at International Bridge 1
Fernando Llano / Associated Press

Since taking office in 2017, President Trump has worked to dramatically reshape the country’s immigration system and curb migration at the U.S.-Mexico border. This year, his administration implemented sweeping changes that experts say effectively seal off the southern border to most asylum seekers. 

Juarez-Lincoln Bridge
U.S. Customs and Border Protection

A 41-year-old Congolese woman seeking asylum died Wednesday in U.S. custody shortly after she entered a border station in South Texas, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Thursday.

From Texas Sandard:

Sometime in the 1990s, concerns about rising crime rates in America's urban centers began to focus on Los Angeles. Some saw it as as ground zero for gangs. Stories about the Bloods and the Crips and other gangs often overlooked a more complicated history that preceded events on the West Coast by several decades. At the same time, they touched on many of the underlying issues, like poverty and social isolation.

In this Dec. 14, 2019, photo, Dr. Psyche Calderon works with a patient in a migrant shelter in Tijuana, Mexico. Calderon is a general practitioner volunteering to provide care for Central Americans stuck in Mexico while they try to obtain asylum.
Gregory Bull / Associated Press

When the Honduran boy complained of a toothache, Dr. Psyche Calderon asked the obvious question: “When did the pain start?”

The answer broke her heart.

“When La Mara broke all my teeth and killed all my family,” the 14-year-old said.

Maria Teresa Carballo, cuts cabbage inside of her house in Santa Ana, El Salvador.
Eduardo Verdugo / Associated Press

María Teresa Carballo was worried. She hadn’t heard from her daughter-in-law since the young woman and her two young children left with a smuggler for the U.S. border a week earlier.

Migrants walk across an international bridge from the United States into Mexico. They requested asylum in the United States but were returned to Mexico to await their court proceedings.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

It wasn’t an easy decision for the young family to make. But after more than six months in this border city, they knew they had to take their chances.

Like thousands of other Central Americans, Sofia, her husband and their two children fled their country earlier this year to seek asylum in the United States but became tangled in the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols program. The policy, also called "remain in Mexico," forces most asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their court hearings.

A federal judge in Texas on Tuesday blocked the Trump administration from using $3.6 billion in funds allocated by Congress for military construction projects to help pay for a wall on the southern border.

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. 


A Mexican soldier patrols the makeshift migrant camp at the base of Paso del Norte International Bridge in Ciudad Juarez.
Ivan Pierre Aguirre / For The Texas Tribune

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Thursday to stop two U.S. immigration pilot programs that the group alleges strip asylum seekers of their legal rights and instead fast-track them for deportation back to violent countries.

Mallory Falk / KERA News

The Otero County Processing Center is a squat, beige facility surrounded by desert, about 30 minutes outside El Paso, in Chaparral, New Mexico. Last fall, a group of volunteers drove out to the site, to meet with some of the asylum seekers detained there.

The Otero County Processing Center
Mallory Falk / KERA News

When Jesús Enrique Rodriguez Mendoza turned himself in to immigration officials, he figured he would be detained but assumed it would be for a short time. Instead, he spent nearly two years in an El Paso detention facility.

A line snaked around the building that houses immigration court in downtown San Antonio early Friday morning. More than 100 people showed up for a court date that was set five years ago, then postponed. These migrants didn’t get the message. 

In this Feb. 19, 2019 file photo, children line up to enter a tent at the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children in Homestead, Florida.
Associated Press

The U.S. government separated thousands of families despite knowing it lacked the technology to document and track their whereabouts, according to a report released Wednesday by an internal government watchdog.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price
Associated Press

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price is urging Gov. Greg Abbott to continue to allow refugees to resettle in the city and state.

In this Nov. 6, 2019, file photo, Border Patrol agents apprehend a man thought to have entered the country illegally, near McAllen along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Associated Press

U.S. immigration authorities have started busing asylum-seekers who cross the border in Arizona to Texas, where they are sent to Mexico to await court hearings.

The government said its highly criticized program known colloquially as Remain in Mexico was now in effect all along the border.

A section of the border fence along the Rio Grande in South Texas was built under George W. Bush's administration.
Callie Richmond / The Texas Tribune

When David Acevedo attended a meeting with officials from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in Webb County last month, he thought he would come away with more information about the Trump administration’s border security plans.

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