Border & Immigration | KERA News

Border & Immigration

In El Cajon, Calif., a procession of cars carrying 600 soon-to-be U.S. citizens from 68 countries passed through a series of stations behind a local community center earlier this week, where they were asked a series of final questions: "Any coronavirus symptoms? Have you been arrested since your interview? No tickets, nothing like that?"

U.S. Must Free Migrant Children From Family Detention, Judge Rules

Jun 26, 2020
Eric Gay / Associated Press

A federal judge on Friday ordered the release of children held with their parents in U.S. immigration jails and denounced the Trump administration’s prolonged detention of families during the coronavirus pandemic.

Detained immigrant children enter the cafeteria at the Karnes County Residential Center in 2014.
Associated Press

Eleven detainees at a South Texas family detention center have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Immigration and Customs Enforcement reported Thursday.

The outbreak was reported at the center near Karnes City, about 50 miles southeast of San Antonio.

In this Aug. 23, 2019 file photo, immigrants seeking asylum hold hands as they leave a cafeteria at the ICE South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.
Associated Press

In the isolation wing of a U.S. detention center for immigrant families, a woman from El Salvador says her 8-year-old son asks her if they are going to die.

With no toys in their room and no ability to leave the room except to use the bathroom, the boy sleeps much of the day and otherwise watches television news that includes the rising death toll from the coronavirus, according to his mother. 

Updated 5:45 p.m. ET

President Trump on Monday extended a freeze on green cards for new immigrants and signed an executive order to suspend new H-1B, L-1, J and other temporary work visas for skilled workers, managers and au pairs through the end of the year.

The goal of the move is to protect 525,000 jobs as part of the White House response to job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic, said a senior administration official, who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity. NPR first reported the impending order on Saturday.

Robin Jerstad / The Texas Tribune

U.S. Reps. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, and Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, called on Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Monday to release detainees at risk of catching the new coronavirus and to increase testing at its facilities.

Without H-1B visas, critical jobs won't get filled and Texas companies will be less competitive on the global stage, says Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce's Drexell Owusu.

The Trump Administration is planning to severely limit approvals of new H-1B visas. Companies use that type of visa to bring in temporary guest workers to fill specialized roles, and Texas could be the state most affected by the changes.

President Donald Trump speaks June 11 during a roundtable discussion about "Transition to Greatness: Restoring, Rebuilding, and Renewing," at Gateway Church Dallas in Dallas.
Alex Brandon / Associated Press

The Supreme Court’s rejection of one of Donald Trump’s key immigration measures reignites a hot-button issue in a presidential campaign already scorched by pandemic, economic collapse and protests over police brutality and racial injustice.

Courtesy of Emma Chalott Barron

For weeks, Emma Chalott Barron had been riddled with anxiety, wondering how the U.S. Supreme Court would rule on the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

In a major rebuke to President Trump, the U.S. Supreme Court has blocked the administration's plan to dismantle an Obama-era program that has protected 700,000 so-called DREAMers from deportation. The vote was 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the opinion.

In this 2019 file photo, Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn addresses the county commissioners court ahead of a vote to extend the controversial 287(g) agreement with federal immigration authorities.
Christopher Connelly / KERA News

Tarrant County Commissioners voted Tuesday to extend the county’s contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Detainees at the Port Isabel Detention Center in the Rio Grande Valley have been concerned about a potential COVID-19 outbreak at the facility for months, as the novel coronavirus continues to spread in Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities across the country.

Paul Ratje for KERA News

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Hotel Flamingo in Ciudad Juarez has been filling up with guests.

Courtesy of Daniel Kapuku

We first met David Kapuku in the fall of 2014, during an orientation for refugee students at Conrad High School in Dallas. He was the students’ guide, showing them around the building.

Josue Tayub in front of the hospital in scrubs and a mask.
Joel Angel Juarez / For The Texas Tribune

When Josue Tayub gets ready for work, he knows that anything can happen during the 12 hours he’s on duty as an emergency room nurse at El Paso's Del Sol Medical Center. 

 Juan Carlos Perla sits with his son, Joshua Perla, as his wife, Ruth Aracely Monroy, right, stands
Gregory Bull / Associated Press

The Trump administration on Thursday suspended immigration court hearings for asylum-seekers waiting in Mexico through June 1, bowing to public health concerns while extending a state of limbo those locked down in Mexican migrant shelters.

Government Sued For Denying Stimulus To Americans Married To Undocumented Immigrants

Apr 29, 2020
Protesters walk through downtown Dallas during an immigrant rights march.
Cooper Neill / For The Texas Tribune

A national civil rights advocacy group is suing the Trump administration on behalf of U.S. citizens denied government stimulus payments because they are married to undocumented immigrants.

This story was updated on May 1 with statements from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

While much of the country has been on lockdown because of the coronavirus, construction of President Trump's border wall has continued.

Democrats on Capitol Hill have called for a full-stop on construction. But the administration has accelerated some efforts to build the wall, and Trump is using the pandemic to justify his push for it.

Mallory Falk / KERA News

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration has effectively sealed off the border to asylum seekers and restricted immigration. One change affects migrants who have been sent to wait in Mexico as their asylum cases play out in U.S. immigration court as part of the “Remain in Mexico” program, officially known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).

Courtesy of Izcan Ordaz

Izcan Ordaz voted for the first time in Texas’ Democratic primary on March 3, or Super Tuesday. As an 18-year-old high school senior, he was excited for this milestone in his young life.

That was just before the U.S. became an epicenter in the coronavirus pandemic.

 tented, air-conditioned cage at a Border Patrol detention facility in Tornillo
Cedar Attanasio / Associated Press

U.S. Customs and Border Protection needlessly spent around $12 million last year to guard, house and feed as many as 2,500 people in a private detention center in Texas that never held more than 68 detainees on any given day, according to a report from a congressional watchdog.

A Border Patrol agent talks with a group suspected of having entered the U.S. illegally near McAllen on March 14.
Associated Press

A U.S. Border Patrol agent wouldn’t let Jackeline Reyes explain why she and her 15-year-old daughter needed asylum, pointing to the coronavirus. That confrontation in Texas came just days after the Trump administration quietly shut down the nation’s asylum system for the first time in decades in the name of public health.

A young Honduran boy held by his father wears a mask while waiting in line with others at the bridge.
Paul Ratje for KERA News

It was still dark when Alejandra arrived at the Paso del Norte International Bridge in Juárez, Mexico, around four in the morning. She and her 13-year-old daughter sat near the turnstile and waited for officials to let everyone through.

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.

USCIS Closed sign
Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times via Associated Press

The U.S. government says a new rule disqualifying more people from green cards if they use government benefits will not apply to immigrants with coronavirus or virus symptoms if they seek care.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said late Friday that seeking treatment or preventive services won’t affect someone’s immigration status under the new, highly criticized public charge rule, which took effect last month and which punishes immigrants who need public assistance.

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.