immigrant

When hundreds of migrants from Central America waded across a river from Guatemala into Mexico on Monday, chaos broke out. And for Saury Vallecilla Ortega, a single mother of four, a nightmare ensued.

For more than a day, she was separated from her 5-year-old daughter, Andrea, and feared for the worst.

When José moved his family to the United States from Mexico nearly two decades ago, he had hopes of giving his children a better life.

The number of people apprehended by U.S. authorities, either attempting to cross the southwest border illegally or presenting themselves at a port of entry, declined for the fifth consecutive month, according to new figures released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Just over 45,000 people were apprehended in October, down from a spike of 144,000 in May — an almost 70 percent decline.

Authorities also report a significant demographic shift among those apprehended.

It is the 8 a.m. assembly at Cactus Elementary School, located on the bleak plains of the Texas Panhandle. Kids with colorful backpacks and sleepy eyes sit cross-legged on the gym floor while their principal kick-starts the day: "Good morning, Cactus Elementary!" The students crow in response.

Many of them come from poor villages in faraway lands — Central America, Somalia, Myanmar, Congo, Haiti — and they're clearly thrilled to be in school.

AL DIAZ / MIAMI HERALD

The government has spent more than $33 million in 46 days to keep the Homestead detention center up and running even though no children are housed there, according to federal officials.

On Wednesday, Jonathan Hayes, the acting director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement — the agency in charge of housing unaccompanied migrant children — testified at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, along with other Department of Homeland Security leaders, about mental health services for migrant children.

Daniel Rivero / WLRN

FREEPORT, GRAND BAHAMA - After days of living on a devastated island with no electricity or running water, thousands gathered at Freeport Harbour in Grand Bahama this weekend trying to get tickets to the first passenger boat leaving from Freeport to the Port of Palm Beach since Hurricane Dorian struck.

The Trump administration has started the arduous process of canceling $3.6 billion in military construction projects to fund its plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper began notifying lawmakers Tuesday which projects will be canceled in their districts. Top Democrats immediately blasted the plan.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., was among the first lawmakers to say his district will be impacted by the funding cuts, for the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

A day after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested nearly 700 people in sweeping raids at several food-processing plants in Mississippi, officials said Thursday that nearly half of those detained had already been released.

Katie Lepri / WLRN

South Florida facilities for unaccompanied minors who crossed the U.S. border have loomed large in the debate over the treatment of the youngest immigrants. 

Several Democratic presidential candidates visited the now-emptied Homestead detention facility in the days surrounding the first Democratic debates. The removal of Homestead's last remaining children from the facility over the weekend marked the end of its controversial place in the immigration discussion. 

Updated July 19 at 12:25 p.m. ET

Mark Morgan, acting head of Customs and Border Protection, said on Thursday that his agency is rolling out the Trump administration's new asylum rule as a small "pilot" for now but that officials expect it to be blocked in court.

AP Photo/Franklin Reyes

Odilon Almeida was 25 when he first walked into a Western Union. He was working for Colgate Palmolive in Toronto and wanted to send money to his nephew back in Brazil for his birthday.

Almeida wasn't impressed with the experience. "I have a very big Latin name," he remembers, "and they were not used to that."

Today, Almedia runs global money transfers for Western Union from Miami. The division generates 80 percent of the company's revenues -- over $4 billion per year.

Miami Herald

More than 15,000 children are being held in migrant children shelters around the country. A recent ProPublica investigation found some kids are reporting sexual assaults in shelters, and their allegations are not always thoroughly investigated.

Ellis Rua / Miami Herald

Thousands of attorneys across the nation have been working for weeks to help children who were separated from their parents due to the Trump Administration’s now-scaled-back “zero tolerance policy” on illegal border crossings.

Sara B. Herald of the Miami-based law firm Bilzin Sumberg says those groups have been overwhelmed by the case loads. That's why Bilzin Sumberg and other firms around the country are stepping forward to help.

A week ago, Yeni Gonzalez was in an immigration detention center in Arizona more than 2,000 miles from her children.

On Tuesday, the 29-year-old stood outside the social services agency in New York City where she had just seen her kids for the first time in 45 days, clutching a blue and white lollipop in her hand.

"I feel very happy because I just saw my children, and my daughter gave me that lollipop," Gonzalez said in Spanish.

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