Reynaldo Leaños Jr., Texas Public Radio

Reynaldo Leanos Jr. covers immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border for Texas Public Radio.

Prior to joining Texas Public Radio, Reynaldo was a freelance journalist in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas and in New York City. His work has appeared in Public Radio International’s The World and Global Nation, NBC News, NPR’s Latino USA, KUT’s Texas Standard and KUT.

He has an undergraduate degree from Texas State University, where he studied journalism and international studies. Leanos also has a master’s degree from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, where he specialized in international reporting.

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.


The massacre in El Paso sent shockwaves across the country, and especially throughout the Rio Grande Valley. People in McAllen held a vigil on Wednesday to honor their fellow border city hundreds of miles away. At the event they expressed defiance and sadness. But they also expressed fear — fear that what happened in El Paso could someday happen to them.


Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress will visit the Rio Grande Valley later this week.

U.S. Border Patrol agents have located four bodies by the Rio Grande in Texas' Rio Grande Valley, near the U.S. border with Mexico. Three of the deceased were children — one toddler and two infants — and the other was a 20-year-old woman.

"It's an incredibly heartbreaking situation, which seems to happen far too often," said Special Agent in Charge Michelle Lee of the San Antonio FBI office.

Giant tent structures have been erected in Texas to serve as short-term detention facilities to process a huge influx of families and unaccompanied minors from Central America arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The facilities are open Friday in El Paso, Texas, and in the state's Rio Grande Valley next to the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge.

Drag queens from throughout Texas' Rio Grande Valley gathered last weekend in Brownsville to protest further construction of the border wall and bring attention to LGBTQ migrants who have been detained or are seeking asylum.

In a public park, a performer who goes by Beatrix Lestrange did not have to struggle to catch the attention of protesters gathered for the No Border Wall Protest Drag Show. Lestrange, whose real name is Jose Colon-Uvalles, wore a multicolored dress, a red wig, black pumps and a choker with studs.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has confirmed a 45-year-old Mexican national died Monday morning while in their custody.

Updated at 5:07 p.m. ET

President Trump's emergency declaration will potentially free up over $6 billion to build hundreds more miles of barriers along the Southern border. One of the places prioritized for construction is the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where the majority of illegal crossings now occur. Residents there have strong views about the barrier, both pro and con.

At least six immigrant detainees on a hunger strike have been force-fed through nasal tubes by immigration authorities, while nine other asylum-seekers are starving themselves, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed on Thursday.

Eleven of the detainees refusing food, some for more than a month, are in custody at the El Paso Processing Center. Four others are in ICE detentions centers across the country: one each in Miami, Phoenix, San Diego and San Francisco.