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Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Dallas County Commissioners will meet Tuesday morning as controversy builds over County Judge Clay Jenkins' recent announcement that the county would help the federal government set up centers for 2,000 immigrant children. The lone Republican county commissioner, Mike Cantrell, doesn’t think Jenkins’ idea is a good one.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Dallas County plans to soon welcome 2,000 of the 52,000 children who’ve entered the country illegally in recent months. They’re coming from Central America and crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Many are trying to escape violence and drug cartels.

Wikipedia

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins is headed to the Rio Grande Valley Wednesday to visit a detention center where hundreds of children from Central America have been living. On Tuesday, Jenkins met with charity groups and emergency managers to talk about how to bring 2,000 or more of the immigrant kids to North Texas later this month. KERA's Doualy Xaykaothao is in McAllen, and she found out how residents see the situation. 

Kainaz Amaria / NPR

Talk about a road trip! NPR’s Steve Inskeep and a team of producers just finished a 2,400-mile journey along the U.S.-Mexico border — from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean – to explore how the two countries are linked and how they’re separated. The NPR series, Borderland, paints a picture of a region separated in places by a river, walls, and barbed wire, but united in many unexpected ways. In this week’s Friday Conversation, Inskeep speaks with KERA’s vice president of news Rick Holter.

My colleagues and I drove 2,428 miles and remained in the same place.

We gathered a team, rented a car, checked the batteries in our recorders and cameras. We moved from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. We crossed deserts, plains and mountains. But all the while, we were living in Borderland — zigzagging across the frontier between Mexico and the United States.

The battle over the border is escalating between Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Greg Abbott and the likely Democratic nominee Wendy Davis. It began last week when Abbott likened public corruption in South Texas to “third-world country practices” while unveiling his border security plan while in Dallas. Davis calls Abbott's comment "divisive" and says it's harmful to economic development along the border. Abbott may say more on the subject when he makes a campaign appearance in El Paso today.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Greg Abbott, the Republican attorney general and candidate for governor, stopped in Dallas Tuesday to unveil a $300 million border security plan that would also target domestic violence and sex crimes.

Speaking to a Dallas nonprofit that helps victims of child sex trafficking, Abbott argued that the federal government has failed to secure the Texas border.

“Powerful and ruthless international cartels and violent transnational gangs are operating within our state,” Abbott said. “Even within our prison system. And narco-related cross-border crime is on the rise.” 

As the U.S. government has militarized the California and Arizona segment of the Southwest border over the last two decades, illegal crossers have moved to another area. South Texas has become the new border hot spot.

The Rio Grande Valley is also the closest route to Central America. Two-thirds of those caught crossing are from that troubled region.

The Border Patrol and local authorities are straining to keep up.

Fleeing Poverty And Murder

The new FX series The Bridge begins with the discovery of a body on a bridge that connects El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico. In it, a Mexican detective, played by Mexican actor Demian Bichir, has to work with an El Paso homicide cop to solve what turns out to be a serial murder case.

The U.S.-Mexico border plays a starring role in the new FX series The Bridge.

Characters in the television crime drama, which premieres Wednesday night, regularly cross back and forth through the border between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. The show's dialogue also frequently switches between English and Spanish, setting a new standard for bilingual drama on American television.

The Department of Homeland Security is examining its policy on deadly force along the U.S.-Mexico border. In less than two years, U.S. Border Patrol agents have killed 18 Mexican citizens there — including eight people who were throwing rocks.

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