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Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune

Imagine a kindler and gentler hand on the Texas-Mexico border where federal agents on patrol educate and welcome visitors to America. That happens as people from both sides of the Rio Grande meet at the center of a new, shared border checkpoint to play soccer or maybe watch movies near a farmers market.

Along a barren dirt road, Border Patrol agents spot a mother and son, carrying nothing as they walk along the river's edge. The sun beats down on them as the patrol car pulls up.

"Where are you from?" Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Marlene Castro asks the mother. "How much did you pay to get here?"

From Texas Standard:

After less then two months in office, the Trump administration can point to at least one statistic that may indicate the president is succeeding in his goal of stemming the tide immigration. From January to February, apprehensions at the Mexican border with the U.S. decreased by 40 percent.

The Department of Homeland Security released new data late Wednesday showing that illegal southern border crossings diminished in the opening weeks of the new Trump administration.

The new figures indicate "an unprecedented decline in traffic" in the month of February, according to a statement issued by Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

From Texas Standard:

The United States Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection unit says it will begin soliciting proposals from companies interested in constructing President Donald Trump's proposed border wall along the U.S.-Mexico divide.

The federal government posted a pre-solicitation this week and has already garnered hundreds of responses – dozens from Texas alone – for what promises to be one of the biggest contracts of any infrastructure project planned by the Trump administration.

President Trump wants to hire 5,000 more Border Patrol agents and 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to enforce his executive orders on immigration.

It wont be easy.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly was blunt when asked by a member of Congress about it. He said he will add to the ranks "as fast as we can."

But he quickly added, "we will not lower standards and we will not lower training." Kelly then said he didn't believe "we're going to get 10,000 and 5,000 on board within the next couple of years."

In June 2010, 15-year-old Sergio Hernandez and his friends were playing chicken at the U.S.-Mexico border, daring each other to run up and touch the tall border fence separating Juarez, Mexico, from El Paso, Texas.

At some point during their game, U.S. border patrol agent Jesus Mesa arrived on a bicycle. He detained one of the kids on the U.S. side while the others ran away. Hernandez hid behind a pillar beneath a bridge on the Mexican side of the border. A cellphone video shows the boy peeking out from behind the column, before Mesa shoots and kills him.

On Jan. 25, President Trump signed an executive order instructing construction to begin on a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Environmentalists and civil rights activists say the proposed wall on the southern border with Mexico is a threat to the environmental rights of the people who live on both sides of the border.

From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump’s support of imposing a 20 percent tariff on all Mexican imports to the U.S. has some Texans running to the supermarket to stock up on Topo Chico and avocados. The proposal suggested on Thursday is designed by the Trump administration as leverage to get our southern neighbor to pay for a wall extending across the southern border.

Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is considering alternative ways to pay for the border wall, backtracking on the president's oft-repeated promise that Mexico would foot the bill.

A White House spokesman said one idea taking shape is to apply a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico, as well as other countries with which the U.S. has a trade deficit. That would effectively saddle U.S. consumers with a significant portion of the wall's cost, estimated at $15 billion or more.

Mexicans have reacted angrily to President Trump's executive order, which among many things directed the U.S. government to begin immediate construction of a border wall.

Mexican lawmakers are urging President Enrique Peña Nieto to cancel his scheduled visit to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 31.

Peña Nieto has not said whether he will cancel the meeting.

The Logistics of Building Trump's Border Wall

Jan 25, 2017

From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday authorizing the building of a wall along the United States-Mexico border.

He told ABC News that morning that the U.S. will start building the wall “as soon as we can. As soon as we can physically do it. … I would say in months. Certainly, planning is starting immediately.”

From the start of his campaign, after he descended the golden escalator to give his announcement speech, Donald Trump promised to build a wall along the U.S.' Southern border. Now, Trump is taking the first steps toward keeping that promise, with an executive action that calls for building that wall.

In line with his campaign theme of tightening laws on immigration, that action will call for other measures, such as hiring more Border Patrol agents and expanding detention space.

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

President Trump has signed two executive orders related to immigration and border security, moving ahead with his plans to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico and to deport people who are in the country illegally.

Courtesy Michael Seifert

It’s just before the holidays in McAllen, a town of 130,000 on the U.S.-Mexico border. Basilisa Valdez sits in the kitchen at her sister’s house, waiting for relatives to arrive. Here, that means some come from across town, and some from Reynosa, just across the river in Mexico.

Click here to experience "The Wall: A Special Report from Texas Standard"

 The Texas Standard gets a lot of emails: story ideas, feedback - sometimes good, sometimes different. On occasion, we get a call to action.

Sherry V. Smith / Shutterstock

Forget Donald Trump's Great Wall.

The people who live in the bustling, fertile Rio Grande Valley, where the U.S. border meets the Gulf of Mexico, think a "virtual wall" of surveillance technology makes a lot more sense. It's already in wide use and expanding.

Todd Wiseman / The Texas Tribune

Reporters at the Texas Tribune are exploring border security and immigration -- two topics that affect nearly every part of Texas.  Jay Root is a reporter with the Texas Tribune and has reported several stories in the project, called Bordering on Insecurity.

Border Residents Weigh In On Walls And Community

Jul 20, 2016
Shutterstock

One of the pillars of Donald Trump’s campaign has been his promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. This idea has resonated with many Americans. Today on Think, journalist Alfredo Corchado told Krys Boyd about a recent poll of border residents that measured how they feel about the idea of a wall.

Shutterstock

A border wall between the U.S.-Mexico border has been a major focus of Donald Trump’s campaign. However, a new poll suggests people living in border cities oppose that idea.

Texas Explores Flexing Legal Muscles On Immigration

Dec 17, 2015
Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

Crafted carefully, state laws can be written that would allow Texas to crack down on undocumented immigrants and illegal border crossers without running afoul of the U.S. Constitution, a state attorney told lawmakers recently.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday extended the deployment of National Guard troops at the Mexico border due to a spike in the number of unaccompanied minors entering the country.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Gov. Abbott approves $800 million border security bill; the McKinney police officer has resigned following the viral video; Dallas and Fort Worth mayors are in Europe; and more.  

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

About half a million Texans live in what’s known as colonias. These communities pop up near the Texas-Mexico border and usually lack the basics, such paved roads, utilities and secure housing.

Texas Tribune

After a marathon 17-hour debate, the Texas House gave tentative approval to its version of a new state budget this morning.

Texas Tribune executive editor Ross Ramsey tells KERA’s Sam Baker the $210-billion budget reflects a lot of Gov. Greg Abbott’s priorities.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Five stories that have North Texas talking: the Susan Hawk DA fallout continues; Fort Worth clears out a homeless camp; the Texas music bucket list; and more.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott stopped in Dallas Monday after an ice storm kept him away earlier this month. With his first legislative session almost at its midpoint, the governor talked about his priorities, his experience and progress so far.

House Speaker Straus Opposes Long-Term Deployment Of Guard At Border

Feb 18, 2015
Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

A day after Gov. Greg Abbott backed extending the Texas National Guard’s stay at the Mexico border, House Speaker Joe Straus said Wednesday that he will work to make that happen but that he remained opposed to a "long-term deployment."

Border Apprehensions In Texas Spiked In 2014

Dec 22, 2014
Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Federal immigration agents apprehended nearly 97,000 more people trying to enter the U.S. illegally through Texas’ southern border during the 2014 fiscal year than they did in 2013, the Department of Homeland Security announced on Friday.

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