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Mexico

Back-to-back natural disasters in Mexico and across the Caribbean have left millions of people reeling.

Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET

A strong earthquake that hit Mexico City and other central areas has killed at least 273 people, officials say. Search teams are working feverishly to find any survivors who were trapped.

Updated 6:30 a.m. ET Wednesday

The head of Mexico's civil defense agency has lowered the number of people confirmed dead in Tuesday's earthquake. Luis Felipe Puente now says 217 people were killed. Earlier he said the death toll was 248. He gave no explanation for the revised number.

Updated at 3:30 a.m. ET

The death toll continues to rise in Mexico after Tuesday's earthquake. The country's national civil defense agency confirmed the death toll stands at 248. Rescue teams are digging through the rubble to find survivors.

One morning, when JR awoke, an image lingered from his dreams: The wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and above it a young kid peering curiously over.

A child just 1 year old, who has "no idea that's a wall that divides people — he has no idea of the political context," JR imagined. "What is he thinking?"

Updated at 11 p.m. ET

The most powerful earthquake to hit Mexico in decades struck late Thursday off the country's southern coast and could be felt hundreds of miles away in the capital. The 8.1 magnitude temblor is blamed for killing at least 60 people.

The quake triggered fears of a tsunami, although no major damage was reported. The event came as the country already was bracing for Hurricane Katia, which made landfall Saturday night in the state of Veracruz as a Category 2 storm.

The U.S. State Department has released an updated travel advisory for Mexico, expanding its warnings specifically about the regions that are home to some of the country's most popular tourist destinations.

The agency cautioned U.S. citizens that homicide rates are on the rise in areas such as the states of Quintana Roo, which includes Cancun, and Baja California Sur, which is home to Los Cabos.

Way back at the start of his presidency, Donald Trump created a stir with his first calls to leaders of U.S. allies.

dcwcreations / Shutterstock

According to the latest numbers, North Texas housing prices are up 8 percent over last year. That sounds like great news for home builders. Yet, Phil Crone of the Dallas Builders Association went to the nation’s capital last month to make a desperate plea for immigration reform.

The rules were clear; to participate, you needed four things:

A floral-printed dress (knee length), a shawl (red or pink), artificial flowers in your hair (three, at a minimum), but most important of all, of course, was the unibrow.

Hundreds of people came together at the Dallas Museum of Art Thursday night, in an attempt to set the record for the largest gathering ever of people dressed like Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

Two-thousand miles away from the Supreme Court's vaulted ceiling and marble friezes, 60-year-old jobless mother Maria Guereca sat in her $20-a-month, one-room apartment with a fan and a hotplate — beside a picture of her dead son.

On Monday, the Court gave Guereca, who lives in Juarez, Mexico, a partial victory, saying a lower court erred in granting immunity to an agent who shot and killed her son.

Can the family of a slain Mexican teenager sue the federal agent who shot him across the U.S.-Mexico border for damages? The U.S. Supreme Court did not answer this question on Monday, instead opting to send a case back to a lower court.

The case centers on a larger question: whether the Constitution extends protection to an individual who is killed on foreign soil, even though that person is standing just a few yards outside the United States.

For the first time in more than a decade, Mexicans no longer make up the majority of immigrants staying in the U.S. illegally, according to new estimates by the Pew Research Center.

From Texas Standard:

Over the last several months, opponents of President Donald Trump's plan for the expansion of a border wall with Mexico have listed innumerable reasons why they believe it's a bad idea. And now there’s one new reason. Construction as planned may violate a 47-year-old boundary treaty between the two countries – an issue that could end up in an international court.

Read a version of this story in Spanish.

As the White House pushes Congress to fund President Trump's U.S.-Mexico border wall, a new wrinkle has emerged that could stymie parts of the massive project.

From Texas Standard:

In late March, Cesar Duarte, the former governor of the Mexican state of Chihuahua, fled to El Paso to escape corruption allegations. Duarte is now the subject of an international arrest warrant, which was filed by his successor, current Governor Javier Corral.

Private contractors seeking to get in on the ground floor for construction of President Trump's long promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border had until Tuesday to submit their bids for prototype designs.

At least 200 companies have expressed in interest in the project, but not all were expected to submit bids. Customs and Border Protection called for proposals for the border wall in March.

Depending on where you sit, the U.S.-Mexico border is:

a) a dangerous frontier that allows drug traffickers and illegal immigrants to cross freely into the U.S.

or

b) a familiar frontier that is navigated as a regular part of everyday life.

For people who live along the border in the twinned cities of Nogales, Ariz., and Nogales, Mexico, it's nearly always the latter.

The sister cities are known collectively as Ambos Nogales, or "Both Nogales."

From Texas Standard:

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump famously criticized NAFTA as the “worst trade deal ever signed in this country.” President Trump is now taking a somewhat softer line on NAFTA. A draft letter from the White House emerged this week that indicates the administration wants to re-negotiate the trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, leaving some provisions in place, while seeking changes to others. The document contains few details, but it does indicate that the president would like the ability to impose tariffs on some imported products. Re-opening NAFTA negotiations would require Congressional approval.

Think about the avocados you mash for your Super Bowl guacamole, or the fresh tomatoes you enjoy in the winter. There's a good chance they came from Mexico.

Our southern neighbor is the United States' leading supplier of fresh produce, providing 70 percent of the fresh vegetables we import and more than 40 percent of our fresh fruit imports. That trade has boomed since NAFTA — the North American Free Trade Agreement — was signed in 1994.

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?"

Amid deep strains in the U.S. relationship with Mexico, a country that's been a favorite target of President Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security chief John Kelly took part in talks in Mexico City on Thursday that were aimed at smoothing out tensions.

"That's going to be a tough trip," the president said Thursday morning at the White House. Some of the key issues between the two countries: immigration, border security, trade and U.S. aid to Mexico.

Garland Reiter is one of the people behind the rise in imported food from Mexico.

His family has been growing strawberries in California for generations and selling them under the name Driscoll's. Today, it's the biggest berry producer in the world.

Updated at 2:49 p.m. ET

An Arizona woman who has lived in the U.S. for more than two decades was arrested Wednesday night after her regular check-in with immigration officials and has been deported to Mexico. She was sent to Nogales, Mexico, on Thursday, reports Katherine Fritcke of member station KJZZ.

Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos' deportation — which has been protested by dozens of activists, some of whom were arrested late Wednesday — is a glimpse of how immigration enforcement is changing under the Trump administration.

From Texas Standard:

Mexico’s election season is right around the corner and two candidates are already leading in the polls. It looks likely that leftist candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico’s MORENA party and conservative candidate Margarita Zavala Gómez del Campo of PAN will face off in July 2018.

A Spanish-language version of this post is available on Texas Standard:

In his inaugural address last month, President Trump called for Americans to focus inwardly – his “America First" movement. But in response, Mexico has come up with its own cry: "Hecho en Mexico” (Made in Mexico).

President Trump's threats to disrupt trade with Mexico aren't just worrying people south of the border.

Each time Trump attacks the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, the executives at a 130 year-old railroad company in Kansas City, Mo., hold their breath. Like a lot of U.S. companies, cross-border trade accounts for a lot of Kansas City Southern's business.

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.

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