Border & Immigration | Texas Public Radio

Border & Immigration

It is day six of the partial government shutdown over funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and the Trump administration is under renewed pressure after the death of an 8-year-old boy in federal custody on Christmas Eve. Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Enrique Acevedo (@Enrique_Acevedo), anchor and correspondent at Univision.

For the third day in a row, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials released hundreds of migrant asylum-seekers at a park near a bus station in downtown El Paso. The comparisons to Mary and Joseph wandering the roads of Bethlehem seeking shelter are unavoidable for dozens of volunteers who have stepped in to help. Especially on Christmas Day.

"I kept having the phrase go through my head last night, 'There's no room at the inn, we've got to make some,'" Kathryn Schmidt, a social worker who co-founded the Borderland Rainbow Center, an LGBTQ community center, told NPR.

The Trump administration announced this past week that asylum-seekers would no longer be released into this country while their claims are being processed. Instead, they will be sent back to Mexico to await a hearing before an immigration judge.

There are already thousands in Mexico, waiting just to ask for asylum.

Ivan Pierre Aguirre / Texas Tribune

A temporary migrant facility opened in West Texas in June with the intention of housing up to 300 Central American teens. Six months later, the facility has grown to a capacity of over 2,700, and operations behind its tarped fences remain a mystery.

Joshua Rubin has been documenting what occurs in the Tornillo tent city for the past three months and joins us to discuss what he has seen.

President Trump launched his campaign in 2015 promising, "I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words."

Before long, supporters were chanting, "Build the wall!" and Trump was leading them in a call and response. Who will pay for the wall? Mexico.

He told rally-goers that a lot of politicians said it wouldn't be possible to get Mexico to pay for it. "It's going to be so easy; it's going to be so easy," Trump insisted at the time.

Shortly before a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl died in U.S. custody, her father signed a form stating that his daughter was in good health. But it's unclear how much the man understood on the form, which was written in English and read to him in Spanish by Border Patrol agents. His native language is the Mayan tongue known as Q'eqchi'. 

Updated at 4:59 pm ET

The Department of Health and Human Services is changing the ways it conducts background checks on sponsors of migrant children, a surprise move that will mean the release of hundreds of such children from controversial government-contracted shelters across the country.

Christina Simons / MSF

The thousands of Central Americans arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border has fueled calls for increased border security and immigration reform. Officials on both sides of the border have their take on the issue, but what about thoughts from those who meet with the refugees along their journey? Jason Cone and Samuel Almeida are with Médecins Sans Frontières, better known as Doctors Without Borders.

George Ballis / Take Stock

While researching the farm worker movement, filmmaker Laurie Coyle came across several black and white photos. One woman, who appeared frequently in the photos, was later discovered to be Maria Moreno (00:17). And a new book of original song collaborations tell the stories of San Antonio West Side’s oldest residents (15:50).

Norma Martinez / Texas Public Radio

The West Side of San Antonio is predominantly poor and Hispanic, and has a reputation for being crime-ridden. But many of its residents wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

Many of the West Side’s oldest residents have stories to tell, but historians normally don’t come knocking on their doors. Their stories are now compiled in “Still Here: Homenaje al Westside de San Antonio.