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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Updated at 5:07 p.m. ET

President Trump's emergency declaration will potentially free up over $6 billion to build hundreds more miles of barriers along the Southern border. One of the places prioritized for construction is the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where the majority of illegal crossings now occur. Residents there have strong views about the barrier, both pro and con.

Reynaldo Leaños Jr. / Texas Public Radio

Congress will consider Thursday a $333 billion spending package that includes funding for border security and border wall construction in South Texas. The bipartisan package allocates more than $1.3 billion for the construction of border fencing in the Rio Grande Valley and protects some parts of the region.

Reynaldo Leanos Jr. / Texas Public Radio

Protesters gathered outside of U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar’s local office in Mission, Texas, on Wednesday to condemn his involvement in bipartisan negotiations over a deal that includes funding to enhance border in the Rio Grande Valley.

Reynaldo Leanos Jr./Texas Public Radio

Tuesday night, President Trump stands before a joint session of Congress, assesses the state of the union and likely makes another case for more than $5 billion in funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump has said he'd be willing to shut the government down again if the funding doesn't materialize. 

But money has already been allocated for some border wall projects, including a 6-mile stretch of wall in South Texas' Rio Grande Valley.

At least six immigrant detainees on a hunger strike have been force-fed through nasal tubes by immigration authorities, while nine other asylum-seekers are starving themselves, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed on Thursday.

Eleven of the detainees refusing food, some for more than a month, are in custody at the El Paso Processing Center. Four others are in ICE detentions centers across the country: one each in Miami, Phoenix, San Diego and San Francisco.

Jacquelyn Martin / Pool | AP

President Donald Trump visited McAllen Thursday to continue to make his case for more than $5 billion in funding for a wall on the southern border.


Mani Albrecht / Wikimedia Commons | http://bit.ly/2QBvUB9

In the early evening, members of the Hidalgo County Republican Party hosted a blood drive outside the office. Inside, people prepared for their regularly scheduled meeting. Neat rows of chairs were lined up in front of cut-out figures of President Trump and Abraham Lincoln.

Everyone chatted, mostly about politics. President Trump was scheduled to visit McAllen on Thursday — a visit to further his case for a border wall.


Thousands of troops who were deployed to the border in the fall have left, but the Trump Administration may call for a second deployment of thousands more.

David Martin Davies | Texas Public Radio

The partial government shutdown is entering its third week and it’s not helping the current backlog of immigration cases across the country.

 


Reynaldo Leanos Jr. / Texas Public Radio

The Trump administration deployed 2,800 troops to the Texas-Mexico border in October to confront a migrant caravan moving north from Central America. And by December, most of those soldiers were sent home, but border cities like McAllen are still dealing with the aftermath of the military presence.

 


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