Reynaldo Leaños Jr. | Texas Public Radio

Reynaldo Leaños Jr.

Border and Immigration Reporter

Reynaldo Leanos Jr. covers immigration and the U.S.-Mexico border for Texas Public Radio.

Prior to joining Texas Public Radio, Reynaldo was a freelance journalist in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas and in New York City. His work has appeared in Public Radio International’s The World and Global Nation, NBC News, NPR’s Latino USA, KUT’s Texas Standard and KUT.

He has an undergraduate degree from Texas State University, where he studied journalism and international studies. Leanos also has a master’s degree from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, where he specialized in international reporting.

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Dani Marrero Hi (left) with the Texas Civil Rights Project and attornery Jodi Goodwin (right) talk to Mayela, who is seeking asylum into the U.S.
Reynaldo Leaños Jr. | Texas Public Radio

The Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” program forces asylum seekers who reach the southern border to wait in Mexico until their court date in the U.S. This has become an especially dangerous limbo for LGBTQ+ asylum seekers, who have reported violence and harassment against them.


To stem the flow of migrants across the southern border, the Trump administration is sending tens of thousands of asylum-seekers back to Mexico to await their day in U.S. immigration court — including some pregnant women.

Yulisa stands at the international bridge that connect Brownsville and Matamoros around 4 a.m.
Reynaldo Leaños Jr. | Texas Public Radio

The ACLU filed a complaint last week against the Department of Homeland Security for turning away pregnant asylum seekers.


Hermi Forshage models a long leopard dress. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2011.
Reynaldo Leaños Jr. | Texas Public Radio

Dozens of people eagerly gathered inside the halls of a local hotel in McAllen, Texas this week for a fashion show — but the models weren’t professionals hired by designer labels.

It's back-to-school time on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, and in the border town of Matamoros, Mexico, migrant children are attending a different kind of classroom.

Volunteers have created a pop-up school on a downtown sidewalk in hopes of giving the kids some sense of stability.

"One, two, three, four ..." Tito, an asylum-seeker from Cuba, counts in Spanish in front of a group of children attending the sidewalk school recently.

He fled his native Cuba because he feared being persecuted for being gay, and he asked that we not use his last name.

Verónica G. Cárdenas for Texas Public Radio

More than 30,000 asylum seeking migrants have been returned to Mexico to await their day in immigration court — a process that can take months. This is part of the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy. The program says vulnerable populations may be excluded from the program, but many migrants who are considered vulnerable populations, including LGBTQ asylum seekers, are still being sent back to Mexico.


Richard Loria for Texas Public Radio

U.S. officials have sent back to Mexico more than 30,000 asylum-seeking migrants to wait for their immigration court dates. This is part of the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico program. Pregnant women are among some of the people sent back. But one attorney from the Rio Grande Valley pushed back at the policy. She tried to get her client paroled and back into Texas.


Judy Perry Martinez
Courtesy of the American Bar Association

The new president of the American Bar Association recently completed a tour of the Rio Grande Valley. 

Judy Perry Martinez visited detention facilities, spoke with asylum seekers across the border in Mexico, and observed immigration court proceedings. Texas Public Radio’s Reynaldo Leaños Jr. sat down with her at an immigration office in Harlingen, where she talked about her second visit to the border in the last two years.


Reynaldo Leanos Jr. | Texas Public Radio

Tens of thousands of migrants are in limbo in Mexican border towns because of the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy. The migrants wait for months in sometimes-dangerous conditions before they may appear in a U.S. immigration court. So some volunteers decided to transform a problem into an opportunity. They opened a special school for migrant children in Matamoros so that the kids' education could continue.

Reynaldo Leanos Jr. | Texas Public Radio

The massacre in El Paso sent shockwaves across the country, and especially throughout the Rio Grande Valley. People in McAllen held a vigil on Wednesday to honor their fellow border city hundreds of miles away. At the event they expressed defiance and sadness. But they also expressed fear — fear that what happened in El Paso could someday happen to them.


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