border | KERA News

border

Texas politicians have called on the Trump administration to end its policy of separating immigrant families crossing the border illegally, and are asking the state to stop assisting immigration authorities along the border until the policy ends. 

Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio

An audio recording that appears to capture the heartbreaking voices of small Spanish-speaking children crying out for their parents at a U.S. immigration facility took center stage Monday in the growing uproar over the Trump administration's policy of separating immigrant children from their parents.

Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio

This story was updated at 6 p.m. CST Tuesday.

Dallas County has gotten the "green light" from federal officials to potentially house immigrant children separated from their parents who entered the country illegally, County Judge Clay Jenkins says.

County officials will offer a list of possible shelters to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Federal authorities would visit the sites and select ones deemed suitable.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz announced emergency legislation Monday evening to keep immigrant families together after they cross the border into the United States.

Updated at 7:20 p.m. ET

House Republican leaders are reworking their "compromise" immigration bill to include a provision that modifies — but doesn't completely end — the "zero tolerance" policy being enforced now by the Trump administration.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Laura Bush, the former first lady of the U.S. and of Texas, called the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy of separating immigrant children from their parents "cruel" in an op-ed published in the Washington Post Sunday evening. 

"It breaks my heart," she wrote. 

Updated at 7:55 p.m. ET

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is continuing to defend the Trump administration's controversial "zero tolerance" policy that results in separating children from their parents who enter the U.S. illegally.

Nielsen appeared at the White House press briefing on Monday, falsely blaming Democrats for the current crisis and arguing that the impetus is on Congress to pass a law to close legal loopholes.

At least five people are dead and several injured after a high speed chase by U.S. Border Patrol agents and local sheriff deputies in south Texas ended in a fatal car crash on Sunday.

Dimmit County Sheriff Marion Boyd told the Associated Press 14 people had been crammed into the car and that the driver lost control as it was fleeing Border Patrol agents topping 100 mph near Big Wells, Texas.

"From what we can tell the vehicle ran off the road and caught gravel and then tried to recorrect," Boyd said, adding that "caused the vehicle to turn over several times."

Updated at 4:28 p.m. ET

The Trump administration's decision to separate children from their families as a way to curb illegal immigration is adding fuel to an already fiery debate over immigration.

A group of House Democrats converged on an immigration detention facility in New Jersey on Sunday, days before a planned vote by House Republicans next week. Meanwhile, Trump administration officials alternately took credit and sought to distance the administration from the family separation policy.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

With chants of "families united" and "free our children now," hundreds of people marched to the tent city in Tornillo, Texas, where children have been detained for immigration violations.

The Father's Day march near El Paso was primarily organized by Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas, who is also running for Senate against Ted Cruz. He says the march was the brainchild of Veronica Escobar, who is running to fill his seat in the House, as well as other community leaders.

A Trump administration policy of separating children from their parents on the U.S. border has prompted a crescendo of criticism among religious leaders.

They span different faiths, denominations and ages. Some of them have also helped the president gain support for his base.

The Department of Homeland Security says 1,995 minors were separated from their "alleged adult guardians" at the southern border in just over a monthlong period.

A DHS spokesman said the separations occurred between April 19 and the end of May under the administration's relatively new "zero tolerance" policy, in which parents have also been arrested.

The Berduo family traveled nearly 2,000 miles from Guatemala to the international bridge between Matamoros, Mexico, and Brownsville, Texas, but they could go no further.

Under a new policy, federal border agents stationed in the middle of international bridges are turning away asylum seekers like the Berduos, telling them there is no room in U.S. Customs and Border Protection stations for them.

Updated June 15 at 12:50 p.m. ET

This is the largest government-contracted migrant youth shelter in the country: Casa Padre, a former Walmart supercenter converted into living, recreational and dining quarters for nearly 1,500 immigrant boys.

Shelter managers took reporters on a tour of the facility in Brownsville, Texas, on Wednesday, amid criticism over the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy that has led to separating migrant families who crossed the border illegally.

Gabriel C. Perez / KUT

The Trump administration has selected Tornillo Land Point of Entry, a crossing point along the Texas-Mexico border near El Paso, as the site of its first temporary shelter for immigrant children separated from their parents under the administration's "zero tolerance" policy, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson confirmed Thursday.

Updated at 5:14 p.m. ET

House Republicans plan to vote next week on a pair of immigration bills, including one that would end the Trump administration's practice of separating children from their parents at the Southwest border.

Republican leaders released a draft version of the bill Thursday after House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters he does not support the "zero tolerance" policy that was implemented as a result of a court decision. In the House GOP proposal released Thursday there is a provision ending the policy.

A federal judge in California is allowing a lawsuit against the Trump administration's practice of separating migrant families at the border to proceed.

"Such conduct, if true, is brutal, offensive, and fails to comport with traditional notions of fair play and decency," wrote U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw of the Southern District of California in his ruling on Wednesday.

Robin Jerstad for The Texas Tribune

The number of families caught entering the country illegally at the southwest border in May increased sixfold compared with the same month in 2017. But despite that increase, some of Texas' historically busiest areas for illegal crossings have seen an overall decrease this fiscal year.

From Texas Standard.

In an effort to control its borders, the U.S. has been unequivocal in declaring what will happen to those who illegally immigrate to the U.S. with underage kids in tow – you may be be separated from your kids. It’s supposed to be a deterrent. In the past, parents with children were not routinely prosecuted for illegally crossing the border. But that’s changed, and now kids are being separated from their parents.

The shooting death of an undocumented woman at the hands of a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Rio Bravo, Texas, near Laredo, Wednesday is ratcheting up tensions along the U.S.-Mexico border.

According to a statement released by Customs and Border Protection, a lone agent was responding "to a report of illegal activity by Centeno Lane ... where he discovered a group of illegal aliens" just after noon.

The statement adds:

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the administration's "zero tolerance" policy that calls for separating families who cross the border illegally, saying the undocumented immigrants shouldn't get special treatment.

"That's no different than what we do every day in every part of the United States — when an adult of a family commits a crime," she told NPR. "If you as a parent break into a house, you will be incarcerated by police and thereby separated from your family."

Pu Ying Huang for The Texas Tribune

KINGWOOD — Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday vowed to challenge Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lupe Valdez over her views on border security and immigration, emphasizing an early contrast with the former Dallas County sheriff who has not yet secured her party's nomination. 

U.S. Border Patrol agents were caught on camera trying to ditch an injured and apparently incoherent man across the Mexican border because they said he "looks" Mexican, according to NBC News.

From Texas Standard.

About 250 Texas National Guard troops have deployed to the Texas-Mexico border. Texas’ Gov. Greg Abbott says he’ll eventually send more than 1,000. But even with the state’s leadership so supportive of any appearance of cracking down on illegal immigration, are the Guard troops really doing immigration enforcement? And how do folks who already work on border law enforcement perceive the influx of military personnel?

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

As the White House continues to expand deportations and push measures to curb illegal immigration, many Texas immigrants are forced to navigate the immigration system without the help of an attorney.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen called a 200 percent spike in illegal border crossings in March compared with a year ago "a dangerous story" as she pressed lawmakers Wednesday to provide funding for President Trump's proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Nielsen appeared before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security to push for approval of the Trump administration's $47.5 billion FY 2019 budget request for her department, which includes $18 billion for the border wall.

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

California Gov. Jerry Brown agreed Wednesday to deploy 400 National Guard troops in response to a Trump administration request to border state governors. But in a letter sent Wednesday, Brown says California troops will not enforce federal immigration laws or build a border wall.

The Trump administration announced two measures late Friday to further restrict illegal border crossings.

The president issued a presidential memorandum ending a policy commonly called "catch and release," which released illegal immigrants from detention as they awaited an immigration court hearing.

The memo directs various government agencies, the Departments of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Justice and Defense to report within 45 days on measures they are taking to end "catch and release."

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock

Arizona and Texas announced Friday that they would send 400 National Guard members to the U.S.-Mexico border by next week in response to President Donald Trump's call for troops to fight drug trafficking and illegal immigration.

The number of immigrants illegally crossing the southern border plummeted when Donald Trump took office. But the number is again on the rise. In response, the president plans to deploy up to 4,000 National Guard troops.

In West Texas, immigrant shelters are overflowing with recent arrivals and some migrants are trying more dangerous routes to evade capture.

The intake room at Annunciation House, an immigrant shelter in downtown El Paso, is packed these days. Parents and squirming children sit with their travel bags. They are the aggravations of Donald Trump.

Pages