Border & Immigration | KERA News

Border & Immigration

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.

The number of people apprehended by U.S. authorities, either attempting to cross the southwest border illegally or presenting themselves at a port of entry, declined for the fifth consecutive month, according to new figures released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Just over 45,000 people were apprehended in October, down from a spike of 144,000 in May — an almost 70 percent decline.

Authorities also report a significant demographic shift among those apprehended.

Elmer Martinez / Associated Press

The 3-year-old girl traveled for weeks cradled in her father's arms, as he set out to seek asylum in the United States. Now she won't even look at him.

Protesters in favor of DACA protections at Supreme Court
Susan Walsh / Associated Press

The Supreme Court is taking up the Trump administration's plan to end legal protections that shield 660,000 immigrants from deportation, a case with strong political overtones amid the 2020 presidential election campaign.

Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press

Bernie Sanders is adding his support to a call by some of his fellow presidential hopefuls for decriminalizing illegal border crossings, a proposal that's further exposing deep ideological divides in the Democratic primary and may prove politically treacherous for the party in the general election.

Children's artwork adds color to a tent encampment near the Paso del Norte International Bridge.
Mallory Falk / KERA News

A growing number of Mexicans are fleeing their homes and heading to the U.S. border to seek asylum, driven by a surge in violence. But once they get to a port of entry, many of them are blocked.

scene of fatal shooting
Cedar Attanasio / Associated Press

A U.S. Border Patrol agent who tried to stop some people believed to have crossed the border illegally shot and killed one of them Monday after the man pulled a gun and opened fire, authorities said.

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.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

The makeshift shelters are clustered just past the river’s edge, a rainbow of tarp colors, woven with trash bags and held together with sticks, stones and metal rods that have become home to an estimated 2,000 migrants from Honduras to El Salvador, Nicaragua to Mexico.

Some have lived here for months; all of them are waiting for decisions on asylum claims that may never succeed.

Updated at 9:10 p.m. ET Tuesday

The Justice Department is proposing to begin collecting DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of immigrants crossing the border, creating an enormous database of asylum-seekers and other migrants that federal officials say will be used to help authorities fight crime.

Associated Press

The Tarrant County sheriff spoke at a Thursday morning White House press briefing with Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matt Albence and said that if law enforcement were forced to release undocumented immigrants with criminal convictions from jails, it would put the public at risk.

Associated Press

Migrants wanting to request asylum camped out on a U.S.-Mexico border bridge Thursday, leading to the closure of the span linking Matamoros to Brownsville, Texas.

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.


Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro knew he had to do something when he heard what was happening to LGBTQ and disabled asylum-seekers at the border.

Courtesy Héctor Galán

From Texas Standard:

There’s a historical marker in Presidio County that tells the story of a massacre that took place a century ago in the small town of Porvenir. The Spanish word, porvenir, means “future” in English. But when Texas Rangers and others rounded up more than a dozen townspeople and shot them dead in 1918, Porvenir didn’t seem like it had much of a future at all.

Mallory Falk / KERA News

Luis Orozco Morales had made the trip many times between his home in Hobbs, New Mexico, and El Paso. But this time, when he tried to pass through a remote Border Patrol checkpoint, he was arrested and detained by the Border Patrol, despite having paperwork that showed he was allowed to remain in the United States.

Updated 8:38 p.m. ET

President Trump has ordered that the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the U.S. in the coming year be cut nearly in half to 18,000, down from the administration's previous refugee ceiling of 30,000.

The limit represents the lowest number of refugees seeking protection from violence or political persecution allowed into the country since the modern refugee program was established in 1980.

The Trump administration will no longer allow migrant families apprehended at the border to enter the U.S. under the immigration policy commonly known as "catch and release."

The policy change was announced Monday by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan in remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C.

Mallory Falk / KERA News

Mexico is the second deadliest country in the world for transgender people, according to a recent study. Yet many LGBTQ migrants are stuck in the border city of Ciudad Juárez. 

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