Border

Attorney General William Barr ruled Monday that immigrants fearing persecution because of threats against their family members are no longer eligible for asylum.

The case involves a Mexican man (identified as "L-E-A" in court documents) who sought asylum after his family was threatened because his father did not allow drug cartel dealers to use his store for business. That fear of endangerment traditionally has been the basis for legally recognizable claims for asylum.

Migrants under a bridge
Lynda M. González for KUT

Almost 40 child welfare and medical groups in Texas sent a letter to federal and state leaders Thursday expressing concern about the treatment of child migrants on the state’s southern border. They say poor living conditions are causing trauma among these children, which could have lasting effects.

Residents in the Rio Grande Valley gathered at vigils in McAllen and Brownsville, Texas, on Sunday evening to remember the lives of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter, Angie Valeria.

The Salvadoran father and daughter drowned as they tried to cross the river between Matamoros and Brownsville on June 23. Valeria's mother, Tania Vanessa Ávalos, watched as her family was swept away.

June Has Been A Deadly Month For Migrants Crossing The Border Into Texas

Jun 28, 2019
Residents hold a vigil at La Lomita Chapel in Mission
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

As the wrenching photo of a Salvadoran father and daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande continues to spark national debate about U.S. immigration policy, the death toll of migrants trying to illegally cross the border has been quietly rising in recent weeks.

A Grim Border Drowning Underlines The Peril Facing Many Migrants

Jun 26, 2019
The Rio Grande River as seen from Brownsville, Texas as it passes under the Gateway International Bridge between the border cities of Brownsville and Matamoros, Mexico.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The man and his 23-month-old daughter lay face down in shallow water along the bank of the Rio Grande, his black shirt hiked up to his chest with the girl tucked inside. Her arm was draped around his neck suggesting she clung to him in her final moments.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

WASHINGTON — As reports of migrant children being held in squalid conditions at federal facilities near the border continue to draw outrage, Democrats successfully pushed a $4.5 billion humanitarian aid package through the U.S. House late Tuesday evening with a vote of 230 to 195.

U.S. Government Moves Migrant Children After Poor Conditions Are Exposed

Jun 24, 2019
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The U.S. government has removed most of the children from a remote Border Patrol station in Texas following reports that more than 300 children were detained there, caring for each other with inadequate food, water and sanitation.

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.

Updated at 7:25 p.m. ET

President Trump is delaying immigration raids that were set to begin this weekend, saying he will give Congress two weeks to make changes to asylum law before dispatching Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents around the country to deport undocumented immigrants.

Immigration rights advocates had been preparing for the planned sweep of recently arrived migrants, which, according to sources familiar with the planned raids, were set to begin as soon as Sunday in 10 cities around the country.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday that the state will deploy 1,000 troops from the Texas National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border to aid the federal government with border security efforts.

Thousands Of Asylum Seekers Left Waiting At The U.S.-Mexico Border

Jun 17, 2019
Julia Reihs / KUT

Over the past three months, the number of Central Americans arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border has jumped exponentially, and total border crossings have reached levels last seen in 2006.

Updated Saturday at 10:30 a.m. ET

A day after U.S. and Mexico officials announced an agreement to avert tariffs — set to begin on Monday — affecting billions of dollars in imports from Mexico, President Trump took a victory lap on Twitter.

Under a joint agreement released by State Department officials, Mexico will assist the United States in curbing migration across the border by deploying its national guard troops through the country, especially its southern border.

Lynda M. González for KUT

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

Updated at 7:22 p.m. ET

President Trump tweeted that talks with Mexican officials would continue Thursday, raising hopes they may be able to reach an agreement to avert potentially crippling tariffs on Mexican imports.

The possibility of a deal comes amid great pressure from the Mexican government and top Republican leaders who warned of potentially disastrous consequences.

The Trump administration is canceling English classes, recreational activities including soccer, and legal aid for unaccompanied migrant children who are staying in federally contracted migrant shelters.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is charged with caring for minors who arrive at the Southern border without a parent or legal guardian, says the large influx of migrants in recent months is straining its already threadbare budget. ORR is part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

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.

Thousands of asylum-seekers from Central America, Cuba and elsewhere have massed in Mexican border cities, waiting and hoping to be granted legal entry to the United States. They have created a humanitarian crisis, and they're growing impatient.

Responding to that crisis, the Trump administration threatened last week to impose tariffs to pressure Mexico to block the streams of migrants who are crossing its southern border bound for the United States.

Residents, business owners and political leaders in Laredo, Texas are bracing for President Trump's implementation of a 5% tariff on all goods coming from Mexico that would begin June 10th.

The president said the tariff will gradually increase to 25% if Mexico doesn't do more to stop the flow of illegal immigration into the U.S.

Ernesto Gaytan Jr. is the general manager of Super Transport International in Laredo, a company founded by his father almost 30 years ago in Mexico.

"Laredo exists because of its location and the closeness we have with Mexico," he said.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

With a looming trade war with Mexico on the horizon, Texas’ proximity to its southern neighbor could spell economic trouble for the state’s consumers and workforce.

But it’s the added dynamic of how this country trades with Mexico that could do far greater damage to the state and national economies than President Donald Trump's current trade battles with China or Canada, analysts warn.

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.

Central American migrants who were detained in a Border Patrol holding facility in McAllen, Texas, described atrocious living conditions and widespread sickness.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection shut down its largest migrant processing center in South Texas for 24 hours on Tuesday after 32 detainees got sick with the flu. This is the same location where a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy became sick, and died Monday at another Border Patrol station.

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.

coolloud/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

On Wednesday, The New York Times published an article with a dark, grainy photo of a man carrying a small child through a desolate cornfield. The man was a U.S. Border Patrol agent, and the child was a 3-year-old whom smugglers apparently had abandoned. The child’s name and a phone number were written on his shoes.

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma Plays Bach In Shadow Of Border Crossing

Apr 13, 2019

World-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma brought his Bach Project to the sister cities of Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, on Saturday. The "Day of Action" featured performances in both cities to celebrate the relationship between the two communities.

Ma played the opening notes of Johann Sebastian Bach's Suite No. 1 for Unaccompanied Cello in a park next to the Juarez-Lincoln International Bridge, one of the crossings that connect the U.S. and Mexican cities.

John Moore/Getty Images

John Moore, a special correspondent for Getty Images, lived and traveled around the world for years before deciding to focus his time and work on the U.S.-Mexico border. His frequent requests to photograph Border Patrol agents dealing with families crossing the border went unanswered – until one day last year when he got a call out of the blue.

Lynda M. González for KUT

From Texas Standard:

As thousands of Central American migrants wait in Texas border cities for their immigration hearings, some of them are also awaiting health care services. Anna Maria Barry-Jester, senior correspondent for Kaiser Health News, says there’s a network of volunteer doctors in El Paso who are providing care, but it's been a struggle.  

Texas could help build President Donald Trump’s long-promised border wall, the president suggested Thursday — an idea that apparently came from the state’s outspoken lieutenant governor, a vocal advocate for border security.

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

More troops are expected to be deployed to the Southern border to construct or upgrade 160 miles of fencing and provide medical care to a steady stream of migrant families arriving from Central America, according to military sources.

The deployment and fence construction along the California and Arizona borders would be paid for by the Pentagon, from the Department of Defense's discretionary funding.

Updated at 4:57 p.m. ET Friday

A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who crossed the southern border into the United States illegally earlier this month died of dehydration and shock after being apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol in New Mexico.

Facebook/Angry Tias & Abuelas Of RGV

From Texas Standard:

One of the biggest stories of 2018 was the family separation crisis at the border. But some may not have heard about the Angry Tías and Abuelas of the Rio Grande Valley – 11 women who sprung into action over the course of several weeks in the summer.

Pages