Border & Immigration | KERA News

Border & Immigration

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. 

Big white tent complexes in two Texas border towns are drawing attention. These are temporary courtrooms, the latest effort by the Trump administration to more quickly work through thousands of migrant asylum cases.


Associated Press

Tent courtrooms opened Monday in two Texas border cities to help process thousands of migrants who are being forced by the Trump administration to wait in Mexico while their requests for asylum wind through clogged immigration courts.

Associated Press

The Trump administration has begun enforcing radical new restrictions on who qualifies for asylum as tens of thousands of migrants wait on the Mexican border, seeking refuge.

An asylum-seeking boy from Central America runs down a hallway of a shelter in San Diego after arriving from an immigration detention center on Dec. 11, 2018. Experts say when parents are detained or deported, the children's trauma can last a long time.
Associated Press

Physical pain, post-traumatic stress and inconsolable crying are just some of the experiences of migrant children highlighted in a report out this month from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. 

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.

More than 30,000 asylum seeking migrants have been returned to Mexico to await their day in immigration court — a process that can take months. This is part of the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy. The program says vulnerable populations may be excluded from the program, but many migrants who are considered vulnerable populations, including LGBTQ asylum seekers, are still being sent back to Mexico.


Associated Press

A federal district judge has reissued a nationwide block of a White House rule aimed at denying asylum to immigrants who didn’t first seek refuge apply in another country before reaching the United States.

U.S. officials have sent back to Mexico more than 30,000 asylum-seeking migrants to wait for their immigration court dates. This is part of the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico program. Pregnant women are among some of the people sent back. But one attorney from the Rio Grande Valley pushed back at the policy. She tried to get her client paroled and back into Texas.


It's been five months since San Antonio opened its Migrant Resource Center downtown, and in that time tens of thousands of asylum-seekers have spent time in San Antonio before moving on to their final destinations. 


Updated at 9:00 p.m. ET

The Pentagon revealed on Wednesday the full list of $3.6 billion in military construction projects that will get shelved to help build a wall along the U.S.- Mexico border, according to documents obtained by NPR.

Lawmakers from Virginia to Arizona learned their states will lose millions in military construction projects as part of the plan.

Tens of thousands of migrants are in limbo in Mexican border towns because of the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy. The migrants wait for months in sometimes-dangerous conditions before they may appear in a U.S. immigration court. So some volunteers decided to transform a problem into an opportunity. They opened a special school for migrant children in Matamoros so that the kids' education could continue.


Associated Press

Mumps has swept through 57 immigration detention facilities in 19 states since September, according to the first U.S. government report on the outbreaks in the overloaded immigration system.

Associated Press

A Trump administration program forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico has evolved into a sweeping rejection of all forms of migrants, with both countries quietly working to keep people out of the U.S. despite threats to the migrants' safety.

Texas Health and Human Services has confirmed that applications have come in for two new shelters that would hold migrant youth who arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border without a guardian.  

The unaccompanied minor facilities are slated for the Rio Grande Valley, in McAllen and Los Fresnos. 

Associated Press

A detailed snapshot of the recent surge of asylum-seeking families on the Mexican border gives a sense of how they were treated after entering the U.S. and where they settled.

Stella M Chávez, KERA News

On Aug. 3, 2019, a shooter at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, took the lives of 22, injured over two dozen and changed a whole community. The shooting was the worst targeting Latinx in modern U.S. history.

But as some survivors begin to process the horror, there might be a glimmer of hope: Those without a green card may now be eligible for a special visa, designed to protect crime victims. 

Members of the federal immigration judges union are demanding the U.S. Justice Department provide judges with enhanced security and an apology after a white nationalist blog post was included in their weekly news briefing.  

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

Hurricane Harvey took everything from Vanessa: furniture, beds, her car. Even the walls of her Houston apartment fell after the flood. An undocumented Mexican mother who prefers to remain anonymous given her citizenship status, she ended up temporarily living in a friend’s empty home. She slept on the floor with her husband, who is a U.S. citizen, and four kids, three of whom were born in America.

Ivan Pierre Aguirre / The Texas Tribune

It’s been more than three months since Carmen arrived in this border city to wait for her chance to seek asylum in the United States.

But since that second week of May, her hopes of applying for protection have been dashed, then resurrected, then dashed again. The latest mental whiplash came last week, after a federal appeals court in California ruled that asylum-seeking migrants who cross into Texas or New Mexico can be barred from receiving asylum protection if they didn't comply with a new Trump administration policy announced last month that requires migrants to apply for asylum in the first available nation they enter.

Associated Press

The Trump administration is moving to end a long-standing federal court agreement that limits how long immigrant children can be kept in detention, a decision that will almost certainly lead to a new court fight over the government's ability to hold migrant families until their cases are decided.

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