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Marfa Public Radio 2019 Continuing Coverage Murrow Submission

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Immigration policy dominated headlines in 2018. The Trump Administration's "zero-tolerance" policy was scrutinized for causing the practice of family separation and an increase in the uptick of migrant children held in facilities like the Tornillo Shelter. 

The continuing coverage submissions for Marfa Public Radio explores the practice of family separation, the path to reunification, and looks at the Tornillo shelter and the policies that caused it to open.

Tornillo Shelter/Family Separation Continuing Coverage 2019 Entries  – Marfa Public Radio

June 8, 2018 - In West Texas, Three Immigrant Mothers Who Crossed Illegally Wait To Be Reunited With Their Children, By Sally Beauvais

In May 2018, U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions doubled-down on the Trump administration’s efforts to prosecute all cases of illegal entry into the U.S. These criminal prosecutions are the reason why hundreds of kids and parents are being separated at the southwest border. As these parents await federal court in criminal detention facilities, their children are placed in shelters across the country.

In one case in West Texas, three Guatemalan women are facing potential deportation and they aren’t sure if or when they’ll be reunited with their kids.

June 14, 2018 - Tornillo Port Of Entry Will Become Temporary Shelter For Immigrant Minors, By Carlos Morales
The Department of Health and Human Services confirmed today that the port of entry in Tornillo, Texas — just outside of El Paso — will now be the site of a temporary shelter for migrant minors. The news comes as the country’s existing shelter space nears capacity.

In the next few days, 360 children are expected to arrive in Tornillo.

June 15, 2018 - 
State Representative Expects Nearly 300 Migrant Children At Tornillo Shelter By End Of Friday, By Diana Nguyen

On June 14, the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that Tornillo – a town 20 miles southeast of El Paso – would become a shelter for migrant children. We spoke with State Representative Mary González about the temporary shelter in her district.

June 17, 2018 - 
More than 2,000 March In Tornillo To Protest Family Separation At The Border, By Sally Beauvais, Carlos Morales, and Diana Nguyen

A crowd of more than 2,000 gathered at a border crossing in Tornillo, Texas early Father’s Day to protest the separation of children and parents who enter into the U.S. illegally.

The rural town of 1,500 has become well-known over the last several days as home to the first temporary shelter or “tent city” along the southwest border that will house a surging number of unaccompanied migrant children in the wake of the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.

June 30, 2018 - 
In Alpine and Across U.S., Protestors March Against Trump’s Immigration Policy, By Diana Nguyen

At rallies across Texas and the U.S., people are marching to protest the Trump administration’s immigration policy.

In Alpine, a crowd of roughly 150 protestors — mostly dressed in white — gathered at the Brewster County Courthouse to denounce family separations along the U.S.-Mexico border.

July 11, 2018 - 
As Reunification Deadline Approaches, One Migrant Family Wonders When They’ll See Their Daughter, By Diana Nguyen
The looming deadline to reunify parents and children separated at the U.S.-Mexico border is approaching quickly. A federal judge in California ordered the Trump administration to finish reuniting families before the end of this month, but it’s still unclear exactly how the government will accomplish this. Agencies are scrambling to comply — a task complicated by each case’s unique challenges.

Among those waiting to be reunited are Amalia — a nine-year-old Guatemalan girl — and her father. She’s in New York while he’s being detained thousands of miles away, in the West Texas town of Sierra Blanca.

August 17, 2018 - 
KERA/KQED - “A Line Divides”, By Carlos Morales

In a special program, “A Line Divides: 100 Days Since Zero Tolerance,” KERA’s Think and KQED’s The California Report team up to examine the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, the crackdown on immigration, and the separation of families who attempted to cross the border.

Marfa Public Radio's Carlos Morales contributed to the episode with a story exploring the controversies of Texas youth and family detention facilities.

September 11, 2018 - Tornillo Migrant Shelter To Expand, Remain Open Through December, By Sally Beauvais

A temporary shelter housing migrant children in the West Texas border town of Tornillo will remain open at least until December 31st. This is the third time the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has opted to renew the contract for the so-called “tent city” since it opened in June.

October 1, 2018 - 
Tornillo’s Tent City Now Holds 1,500 Migrant Children, By Sally Beauvais

Across the country, the government is running out of beds to shelter a record number of detained migrant children currently in its custody — over 13,000 as of October 2. That’s part of the reason kids are still living in tents in Tornillo, the small border town hosting what was supposed to be a temporary installation.

The last and only other time reporters were allowed inside the tightly-controlled youth detention facility, a couple hundred kids were there. This time, that number has nearly quintupled. The facility expanded rapidly following a September announcement that it would remain open at least until the end of the year. Reporter Sally Beauvais was allowed inside for a tour of the facility.