Border & Immigration | KERA News

Border & Immigration

Rosa Hidalia Palacios fled El Salvador in April. She crossed into Mexico from Guatemala without a hitch, riding on a little raft that ferries people and goods back and forth. A few hundred yards down the Suchiate River from the rafting route, Mexican immigration enforcement agents watched idly from the official border crossing.

Palacios hasn't made it much farther than the border, as dozens of migration checkpoints cover all roads leading north. She is stuck in a nearby city, Tapachula, Mexico, waiting in line outside the little office of the Mexican Commission for Refugee Aid.

The teenage girl with pigtail braids was hunched over in a wheelchair and holding a bunched sweatshirt when an immigrant advocate met her at a crowded Border Patrol facility in Texas.

About 300 migrants who identify as transgender have been booked into the custody of U.S. immigration authorities since Oct. 1, marking the highest number since officials began keeping track in 2015.

The surge of Central American migrants crossing into the U.S. isn't just taxing border agents and the nation's immigration system — it's straining interior checkpoints like one on Highway 281 in Texas.

An hour's drive north of the U.S.-Mexico border, the new and expanded Falfurrias checkpoint is on a major route for traffickers shepherding people or drugs north.

A former U.S. ambassador to Mexico warned that the recent drama over tariffs on Mexican products may not be over. He's worried it may resume in three months.

President Donald Trump's threat to impose tariffs on Mexico was designed to pressure America’s top trading partner into taking action to prevent Central American immigrants from reaching the southern U.S. border.

The tariffs were scheduled to take effect on Monday, June 10. But on the previous Friday, Trump tweeted that Mexican officials “agreed to take strong measures to stem the tide of migration.”

Associated Press

President Donald Trump announced that he had suspended plans to impose tariffs on Mexico, tweeting that the country "has agreed to take strong measures" to stem the flow of Central American migrants into the United States. But the deal the two neighbors agreed to falls short of some of the dramatic overhauls the U.S. had pushed for.

Associated Press

The federal government is opening a new mass facility to hold migrant children in Texas and considering detaining hundreds more youths on three military bases around the country, adding up to 3,000 new beds to the already overtaxed system.

Associated Press

Immigrant children in the care of the U.S. government may no longer have access to English-language courses and legal services, officials said Wednesday.

Updated at 3:01 p.m. ET

New tariffs against Mexico will begin to bite next week, President Trump vowed Tuesday, unless the White House is satisfied that Mexico's government is acting with new alacrity to stop migrants from crossing into the United States.

"This will take effect next week, 5%," Trump said during his visit to London.

Trump said he is open to continuing negotiations with Mexican leaders, including at a meeting scheduled for Wednesday between its foreign minister and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Associated Press

The U.S. government said Monday that it won't build President Donald Trump's border wall on the site of a historic cemetery that might have required the exhumation of graves.

Associated Press

In a surprise announcement that could derail a major trade deal, President Donald Trump says he is placing a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports, effective June 10, to pressure the country to do more to crack down on the surge of Central American migrants trying to cross the U.S. border.

About 146,000 fewer children in Texas were enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program between the end of 2017 and the end of 2018, according to a study released Thursday by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

The recent death of a Guatemalan child after a flu outbreak at the Customs and Border Protection Centralized Processing Center in McAllen is unsurprising, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.


Along one rugged stretch of the Rio Grande, U.S. citizens routinely cross the border into the United States illegally. A shortage of basic services in rural Texas, such as health care, means U.S. citizens rely on Mexican services and rarely pass through an official port of entry on return.

Informal, unregulated crossings have been a fixture of life for generations in rural communities along the U.S.-Mexico border. Today, however, with the unrelenting focus on border security, this kind of unfettered back-and-forth by U.S. citizens is rare.

Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro has a plan to change immigration policy in the U.S. The former Housing and Urban Development secretary wants to address immigrant detention, family reunification and the immigration court system.

In stark contrast to current policy, he also wants to decriminalize crossing the border illegally, a plan he outlined in a Medium post in April.

Oscar Cantua was one of 5100 graduates at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s 2019 Spring Commencement. He received an undergraduate degree in physics. It stemmed from an early interest in black holes. But his path to graduation was a rocky one. Oscar, his mother and his older sister left Mexico when he was only five.

Updated 4:45pm E.T.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection temporarily suspended intake at the McAllen Central Processing Center on Tuesday, the largest migrant processing center in South Texas, after the outbreak of what the agency calls "a flu-related illness."

It is the same facility where a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy became ill last week, and died after he was transferred to another Border Patrol station.

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

Migrants from Honduras and El Salvador stand in line on the border between Guatemala and Mexico, early Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019.
Associated Press

U.S. authorities say a 10-year-old girl from El Salvador died last year after being detained by border authorities in a previously unreported case.

The death marks the sixth known case in the last year.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday that she died on Sept. 29 at an Omaha, Nebraska, hospital of fever and respiratory distress.

Editor's note: This story contains descriptions and photos of human remains that some readers may find disturbing.

Border Patrol agents steer their all-terrain buggy through dense brush on the historic King Ranch. They're looking for a human skeleton.

They spotted bones earlier in the day when they were chasing a group of migrants through this pasture, and they marked the GPS coordinates. Now they're returning with a sheriff's deputy.

Migrant families just released from immigration detention gather at the Catholic Charities respite center in McAllen, Texas on March 15, 2019. A 16-year-old Guatemala migrant died May 20 while still in U.S. custody.
Associated Press

A 16-year-old Guatemala migrant who died Monday in U.S. custody had been held by immigration authorities for six days — twice as long as federal law generally permits — then transferred him to another holding facility even after he was diagnosed with the flu.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Immigration is likely to be a key issue in the 2020 presidential election, but so far Democratic candidates have largely shied away from the issue in their campaigns.

Julián Castro hasn't.

Teenager Is Latest Migrant Child To Die In U.S. Custody

May 20, 2019

A 16-year-old has become the fifth migrant child since December to die after being apprehended at the U.S. border.

For the last decade or so, Austin has been one of the fastest growing cities in the country – last year the city's population grew by about 145 people a day on average. But that number only tells part of the story. The rest of that story – the where – is a proverbial question for our ATXplained project.

So, where are these new Austinites coming from?

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

President Trump has announced an immigration proposal that would dramatically reshape the legal immigration system in the United States.

The plan "puts jobs, wages and safety of American workers first," Trump said in the White House Rose Garden on Thursday.

"We must implement an immigration system that will allow our citizens to prosper for generations to come," he said.

Students walk on the campus of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (the National Autonomous University) in Mexico City.
Shutterstock

Recent Mexican immigrants in Texas are more likely to have a college degree than in previous years. That’s according to a new report by the D.C.-based Migration Policy Institute and Southern Methodist University's Mission Foods Texas-Mexico Center.

Where Is Texas' Growing Population Coming From?

May 9, 2019
A "Welcome to Texas" sign along eastbound Interstate 40 entering Deaf Smith County from Quay County, New Mexico.
Famartin/Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Census Bureau’s latest population estimates confirmed what many Texans already knew: People are still flocking to the Lone Star State.

Nearly 100 years ago, Congress passed a restrictive law that cut the overall number of immigrants coming to the United States and put severe limits on those who were let in.

Journalist Daniel Okrent says that the eugenics movement — a junk science that stemmed from the belief that certain races and ethnicities were morally and genetically superior to others — informed the Immigration Act of 1924, which restricted entrance to the U.S.

A Guatemalan toddler died in a hospital Tuesday night, just over a month after he and his mother crossed the southwest border and were apprehended, according to the Guatemalan consul in Del Rio, Texas.

The family entered the U.S. from the border city of Juárez, Mexico, in early April. They were apprehended on April 3 on the north bank of the Rio Grande in central El Paso, Texas, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Guatemalan Consul Tekandi Paniagua told NPR that the 2½-year-old boy "had a high fever [and] difficulty breathing."

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