Scathing report deems fatal Border Patrol shooting ‘highly predictable’

  By Andrew Becker U.S. Border Patrol agents had “an astonishing pattern” of shooting people who threw rocks at them under a vague use-of-force policy that led to the “highly predictable” death of a man along the U.S.-Mexico border in California, according to a law enforcement expert witness’ review of a fatal shooting. In a report completed this week, a former Baltimore police commissioner and Justice Department official found a Border Patrol policy allowing agents to shoot their firearms based on the threat of a thrown object “highly suspect.”   Continue reading

Tracing America’s borderlands history along the Anza Trail

  By: Sarah Tory I am lost before I’ve even started. It’s December and I’m in Nogales, Arizona, determined to re-trace the footsteps of the first Spanish colonizing expedition across what is now the border between the United States and Mexico. Nearly 250 years ago, in 1775, a young Spanish commander led a group of mostly poor villagers — men, women and children — together with more than 1,000 horses and cattle from the Mexican state of Sinaloa northwards across a vast desert to the far reaches of the Empire in what was then called Alta California. Like Yosemite or Yellowstone, or the Oregon Trail, the expedition’s route is part of the national park system. It should be easy to find. But the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail has no official starting point — at least not one that’s marked. Instead, there is a giant steel fence equipped with motion sensors, and the ever-vigilant eyes of the U.S. Border Patrol. Continue reading

Is the U.S. “Failing” Migrant Children Fleeing Violence?

  By: Sarah Childress Day after day, a white van pulled up at an egg farm in central Ohio and unloaded several young Guatemalans, most of them just teenagers. They were forced to work 12-hour shifts six or seven days a week loading and unloading crates of chickens, cleaning their coops and clipping their beaks. At night, they bedded down in unheated, rat-infested trailers without working toilets, kept down under threat of violence by traffickers. The young migrants had been apprehended in the United States, then handed over to the traffickers, who posed as close friends and family members willing to take them in while they awaited their immigration hearings. Continue reading

Ok, one more time - No, we're not being overrun by illegal immigrants: Analysis

  By: John L. Micek Okay, sit down. Take a deep breath. Now repeat this mantra to yourself: No matter what Donald Trump says, we're not being overrun by illegal immigrants. We don't need a "beautiful wall." And we don't need to make Mexico pay for it. Not that Mexico was going to anyway. Why? Continue reading

10 Shots Across the Border

  By: Mark Binelli  The killing of a Mexican 16-year-old raises troubling questions about the United States Border Patrol. Around 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 10, 2012, a police officer in Nogales, Ariz., named John Zuñiga received a call reporting suspicious activity on International Street, which runs directly alongside the Mexican border. Most of Zuñiga’s calls involved shoplifters at the local Walmart or domestic-violence complaints, but he also worked as a liaison with United States Customs and Border Protection (C.B.P.). Though border security is the responsibility of the Border Patrol, the Nogales police can assist when illegal activity is happening stateside — if, for instance, drug smugglers have slipped over the fence and are making their way into Arizona. Continue reading

Pulitzer Prize Winner Jose Antonio Vargas Talks Race, Immigration, Politics

  By Marissa Cabrera, Maureen Cavanaugh Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist-turned-documentary filmmaker and immigration activist. Now he wants to add another title to his resume: publisher. Vargas, who revealed in 2011 that he's been living in the U.S. illegally since the age of 12, launched a crowdfunding campaign for a new media venture called #EmergingUS. He says the online news organization aims to explore the "evolving American identity." Vargas spoke KPBS Midday Edition about immigration, race and the presidential race. Here are highlights from that interview.   Continue reading

SPECIAL: Valley prepares for next wave of Central American children

  By: Mark Wiggins The rust-brown fence topping the northern levee of the Rio Grande in Hidalgo County is the dividing line between two worlds, which many are willing to risk their lives to cross. "So the stories are always going to be the same, right?" explained Omar Zamora, public affairs officer for the U.S. Border Patrol Rio Grande Valley Sector. "The pull factors, it's going to be family reunification and some sort of economic benefit, just trying to get here to get a job and send money back home. In addition to that, we hear that there's violence. We've got gangs over there that are controlling the neighborhoods, controlling the cities."   Continue reading

Former immigration agent guilty in bribe-for-benefits scheme

  By: Associated Press   A former federal immigration officer has been found guilty of taking bribes from a Los Angeles attorney in exchange for approving immigration applications. Jesus Figueroa of Los Angeles was found guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana of conspiracy to commit bribery and four counts of accepting bribes. The 69-year-old Figueroa was also convicted of misusing the seal of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Continue reading

Activists push for body cams for border agents

  By: Tatiana Sanchez Immigration activists in San Diego are continuing a national push for the implementation of body-worn cameras for agents and officers of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Advocates with the Southern Border Communities Coalition recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress and officials with the Department of Homeland Security to discuss the matter. Continue reading

'Border Cantos' -- memorable journey in sight and sound

  By: Robert Taylor The facts and figures are precise in the brochure and wall text for "Border Cantos," the new exhibit of photographs and handcrafted musical instruments at the San Jose Museum of Art: The border between the United StateUs and Mexico is 1,969 miles long. A fence covers about 700 of those miles. During a northward surge of minors in 2013 and 2014, U.S. authorities apprehended 52,193 children. But what does it feel like to actually be there? Are there traces of those children's journey? Some of the answers are in this straightforward but almost metaphysical collaboration by Berkeley photographer Richard Misrach and Oakland composer Guillermo Galindo. Continue reading

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