Reynaldo Leaños Jr.

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.

This post has been updated. It was originally published on Sunday, July 5, at 2:55 p.m.

A federal judge in Los Angeles ruled that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has until mid-July to release migrant children in family detention centers, citing COVID-19 concerns at these facilities.

Detainees at the Port Isabel Detention Center in the Rio Grande Valley have been concerned about a potential COVID-19 outbreak at the facility for months, as the novel coronavirus continues to spread in Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities across the country.


Dr. Dairon Elisondo Rojas is walking around a new 20-bed tented hospital at the south end of a migrant camp in Matamoros, Mexico.

Nayda Alvarez and her family were hunkered down in their South Texas home a couple weeks ago when her dad saw a caravan of vehicles coming their way.

Alvarez suspected they were government workers but didn't want to get close enough to find out, so she took a photo and sent it to her attorneys. Turns out, they were government surveyors collecting data for upcoming border wall construction.

This story was updated on May 1 with statements from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

While much of the country has been on lockdown because of the coronavirus, construction of President Trump's border wall has continued.

Democrats on Capitol Hill have called for a full-stop on construction. But the administration has accelerated some efforts to build the wall, and Trump is using the pandemic to justify his push for it.


As the U.S. continues to deal with COVID-19, a migrant camp along the southern border in Matamoros, Mexico, across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas,  is also bracing for what could be a deadly outbreak.


Social visitation is suspended in all U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities according to a statement from officials. The agency did not provide further specifics about measures to prevent or mitigate the impact of COVID-19, but said it is “taking important steps to further safeguard those in our care.”

Christina Brown is an immigration attorney in Denver, but also represents people on the southern border who are in the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico program, which requires migrants to wait in Mexico while their court cases unfold in U.S. immigration court.

Hundreds of asylum-seekers who reach the Texas-Mexico border aren't getting a chance to make their case in U.S. immigration court.

Instead, the migrants — mostly women and children — are put on planes to Guatemala and told to ask for asylum in that country.

Moderate and progressive candidates are mired in a nationwide struggle that may define the future of the Democratic Party.


Charlene D’Cruz pulled 30 cents out of her pocket and asked her clients if they’ll need it to get across a turnstile at the Gateway International Bridge that connects Brownsville to Matamoros.


Dozens of people gathered on Sunday in Matamoros, Mexico to protest the more than 2,500 asylum seekers living in their city in a tent encampment near the Gateway International Bridge.

The Trump administration has lifted a ban on public and press access to immigration hearings in tented courts in Brownsville and Laredo.

The Trump administration has expanded its new asylum claim review program to the Rio Grande Valley.

The Prompt Asylum Claim Review program, or PACR, has been in effect in El Paso since October.

Migrants in the PACR program are kept in U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities instead of detention centers run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

For months, asylum seekers have waited at the U.S.-Mexico border under the Trump Administration’s Remain In Mexico policy  — and they’ll still be there throughout the holiday season. 


Health officials and aid workers from the U.S. and Mexico want to find out how many asylum seekers at the border are living with HIV. 


A report by the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general said the DHS did not have adequate technology to track families separated during the implementation of the Trump administration’s Zero Tolerance Policy across the U.S.-Mexico border.

In Matamoros, Mexico, more than 1,500 asylum-seekers are living in squalid conditions in a tent encampment and Mexican officials want them to move.

Officials recently took a page from the Trump administration and threatened to separate asylum-seekers from their children.

A Mexican child welfare official, holding a clipboard, addressed a crowd of asylum-seekers last week in a sprawling tent encampment near the Gateway International Bridge that connects Matamoros to Brownsville, Texas.

Officials in Matamoros, Mexico, are threatening to separate asylum seekers from their children if they don't leave a tent encampent of more than 1500 people near the Inernational Bridge that connects to Brownsville, Texas.

Update: This story has been updated to reflect the location of the shelter. It is at a gymnasium at Alberca Chavez.

 

There are more than 1,500 migrants living in squalid conditions on the streets in Matamoros, Mexico. They’re forced to wait there for their day in U.S. immigration court under the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy.

 

  

 

Julián Castro, a Democratic presidential candidate, visited asylum seekers in Matamoros, Mexico, on Monday.


Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro knew he had to do something when he heard what was happening to LGBTQ and disabled asylum-seekers at the border.

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.

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.

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.


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.


Native American activists from across the country came to the Rio Grande Valley on Saturday to protest the treatment of migrants at the U.S. border, including children detention and family separation.


Vice President Mike Pence and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee visited a tent-like temporary detention facility in Donna and a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Station in McAllen Friday.

The same day, groups across the country scheduled vigils to protest conditions at migrant detention facilities.

Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress will visit the Rio Grande Valley later this week.

U.S. Border Patrol agents have located four bodies by the Rio Grande in Texas' Rio Grande Valley, near the U.S. border with Mexico. Three of the deceased were children — one toddler and two infants — and the other was a 20-year-old woman.

"It's an incredibly heartbreaking situation, which seems to happen far too often," said Special Agent in Charge Michelle Lee of the San Antonio FBI office.

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