immigration | KERA News

immigration

Updated at 5:09 p.m. ET

In the image, a little girl wails in uncomprehending sadness and anxiety.

Her face flushed nearly as pink as her shirt and shoes, she stares up at her mother and a U.S. official, both too tall to be seen. The 2-year-old Honduran child's panic is so palpable, it's difficult for a viewer not to feel it, too.

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

After days of damaging news stories about an administration policy that separated immigrant families at the Southern border, President Trump tried to change the narrative Friday. He spoke up for grieving family members who have lost loved ones at the hands of people in the country illegally.

The fear of family separation is not new for many immigrants already living in the U.S. In fact, that fear, heightened in recent weeks, has been forcing a tough decision for some families. Advocates say a growing number of American children are dropping out of Medicaid and other government programs because their parents are undocumented.

Marlene is an undocumented resident of Texas and has two children who are U.S. citizens. (NPR is not using Marlene's last name because of her immigration status.) One of her kids has some disabilities.

Kandace Vallejo thought she knew Southwest Key Programs: a big nonprofit based in Austin, Texas. Runs a charter school. Works with youth.

And holds thousands of migrant children in facilities paid for by the U.S. government.

That was news.

Julia Reihs / KUT News

Catholic Charities Fort Worth says it's housing a dozen children who were separated from their families at the border after fleeing violence in Central America.

As the other kids cry inconsolably on an audio recording of migrant children, 6-year-old Alison Jimena Valencia Madrid can be heard pleading for someone to call her aunt — reciting the number in Spanish.

Jimena is from El Salvador, and had just crossed into the U.S. before she was detained and separated from her mother.

The controversy over President Trump's executive order to end the policy of separating migrant families who cross into the U.S. illegally is shifting to the courts.

The Pentagon is being asked by the Department of Health and Human Services to provide temporary beds for up to 20,000 undocumented children. That bed space would be needed beginning in July and running through the end of the year.

Officials tell NPR that four bases are expected to provide space, including the Army's Fort Bliss base in El Paso, Texas. It's uncertain if there would be enough barracks space, so officials say that tents likely would have to be put up.

Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

First lady Melania Trump made an unannounced trip to the Southern U.S. border Thursday to visit children who entered the country illegally and see the centers where they are being detained.

The trip comes a day after President Trump signed an executive order ending his controversial policy of family separation for migrant families detained as they're crossing into the U.S. illegally at the Southern border.

Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET

House Republican leaders delayed a vote on the "consensus" immigration legislation Thursday afternoon as they scrambled to convince enough GOP lawmakers to support the measure.

The vote on that bill was initially rescheduled for Friday morning. But after a closed-door meeting that lasted more than two hours, leaders delayed it even further — to next week, according to several House Republican sources.

President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday ending his administration's policy of separating migrant children from their parents who were detained as they attempted to enter the U.S. illegally.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

President Trump Wednesday signed an executive order ending his controversial policy of separating children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

It’s not clear yet how these children will be reunited with their parents. In Dallas, city and community leaders gathered at City Hall to speak out about what’s been happening along the border.

Seated in the Oval Office on Wednesday, flanked by his vice president and secretary of homeland security, President Trump walked back an administration practice that has separated more than 2,300 children from their parents along the border.

Charlotte and Dave Willner started a Facebook fundraiser, titled "Reunite an immigrant parent with their child," after they saw a viral photo of a 2-year-old Honduran girl looking up and crying as her mother was searched by a Border Patrol agent in southern Texas. They created the page on Saturday, June 16, hoping to raise $1,500. As of Wednesday, more than 300,000 donors have raised more than $12 million. The page is bringing in more than $10,000 a minute, according to organizers.

Rachel Osborn knows kids who slept in the immigrant detention centers in Texas that have dominated recent headlines.

"We have kids who will say that was the worst part of their journey," Osborn says. "They were traveling for weeks and the hardest part was being in this freezing cold room where, you know, they were fed a cold sandwich and had a thin blanket to shiver under."

And they had no parent or caregiver to comfort them and make them feel safe.

Embattled Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday — and was targeted by protesters angry over the Trump administration's border policy that has separated children from their families along the U.S. border with Mexico.

"We're in downtown DC disrupting DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's dinner at MXDC," the Metro D.C. Democratic Socialists of America wrote in a Facebook post about the confrontation. "The irony isn't lost on us that this is a Mexican restaurant."

Updated at 5:18 p.m. ET

President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday to end his controversial policy that has resulted in thousands of family separations and brought criticism from Democrats and Republicans.

"We're going to keep families together but we still have to maintain toughness or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don't stand for and that we don't want," Trump said Wednesday morning, when he announced that he would sign the order.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott is asking Texans in Congress to take bipartisan action to address the crisis of thousands of immigrant children being separated from their parents.

President Trump and administration officials are walking a fine line on family separation at the border.

They argue they don't like the policy, but that their hands are tied — and instead are pointing fingers at Congress to "fix" it.

There may be good reason for that — the policy (and it is a Trump administration policy, despite the Homeland Security secretary's claims to the contrary) is unpopular.

A recording of migrant children crying for their mothers and fathers has gripped the nation — and ratcheted up the debate over the Trump administration's policy of separating families at the border.

Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio

The boys live in white tents in the North Chihuahuan desert. At least once a day, they are allowed to play soccer in a dry dirt clearing that’s flanked by a large metal storage container, and in spots, portable toilets.

Updated 3:30 p.m. ET

In opposition to the Trump administration's practice of separating immigrant families, at least five governors, including two Republicans, say they will not send their National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Updated at 4:40 a.m. ET Wednesday

Since early May, 2,342 children have been separated from their parents after crossing the Southern U.S. border, according to the Department of Homeland Security, as part of a new immigration strategy by the Trump administration that has prompted widespread outcry.

On Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order reversing his policy of separating families — and replacing it with a policy of detaining entire families together, including children, but ignoring legal time limits on the detention of minors.

Updated at 9:05 p.m. ET

President Trump told House Republicans that he will support them "1,000 percent" in their efforts to pass immigration legislation later this week. Republicans left the wide-ranging talk in the Capitol in good spirits but still unsure if they have the votes to pass a bill.

Samantha Guzman / KERA News

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz announced Monday that he will introduce a bill called the "Protect Kids and Parents Act" to keep what his statement calls "illegal immigrant families" together while their cases are being heard.

That's very different from what he told KERA's Krys Boyd earlier this month.

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

First ladies have a long history of advocating for issues important to them, often issues related to children. But what's unusual is to have all the living former presidents' wives speaking out in one voice.

America's current and former first ladies are pushing back against the Trump administration's practice of separating children from their parents at the border in an effort to curb illegal crossings.

Groups working with immigrant families in Texas say a Trump administration policy to separate families at the Mexico border is creating a strain on their resources and they don't know how long it will continue.

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.

Pages