Border

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.

Updated Friday at 5:08 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is taking steps to stem the flow of Central American migrants crossing the U.S. border from Mexico.

The administration issued a new rule Thursday designed to prohibit migrants who cross the border outside of designated entry points from seeking asylum in the United States.

Updated at 7:45 a.m. ET Friday

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to sign an order sending at least 800 U.S. troops to the U.S.-Mexico border as a caravan of thousands of migrants heads north from Central America.

Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune

The Trump administration is expected to send 800 or more troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to support border enforcement already stationed there at a time the president has called a “national emergency.”

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. /KUT News

From Texas Standard:

You've almost certainly heard about the dog days of summer, but do you know about canicula? You probably do if you're from the Rio Grande Valley. Otherwise, perhaps not.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Since his inauguration, President Donald Trump has kept his campaign promises of tougher immigration policies, leading to a constant flow of policy changes — from scaling back on programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to his “zero-tolerance” policy along the border that’s led to separation of parents and children attempting to cross into the U.S.

All of these individual actions amount to a broader strategy that is now becoming clear.

KUT News

From Texas Standard.

The Republican administration justified its recent crackdown on illegal immigration to secure the United States’ borders from criminal groups, often pointing the finder at the Salvadoran gang “MS-13.” What if the “zero-tolerance” policy bolsters organized crime instead? Steve Dudley, the co-founder of InSight Crime, a think tank that studies organized crime in the Americas, believes that a strict border policy could make crime groups stronger.

Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

From Texas Standard.

Immigrants crossing the Texas-Mexico border could potentially be housed at military bases – including a few in Texas – according to a recent report. Questions are swirling about how exactly this will play out.

From Texas Standard.

While it appears that border agents are no longer applying a zero tolerance policy, it’s been a different scene on the other side of the state.

Shannon Najmabadi is the higher education reporter at the Texas Tribune. She has been reporting from a privately-operated U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility 75 miles outside Houston where adult men are being detained.

From Texas Standard.

In the present moment, all eyes are on the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexican border. However, Vance Blackfox can’t help but look back and remember the separations of his people in years past.

Kevin Wheeler/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

What does it mean to be a Mexican living in America? Alfredo Corchado explores this question in his new book, a blend of memoir and political history called "Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican American Migration." It’s a story that explores the last 30 years of Mexican immigration into the United States through Corchado’s experience as an immigrant and a Mexico border correspondent for the Dallas Morning News.

Pages