The Other Freshman Democrat Making Things Happen On The Border

House Democrats are often stymied when it comes to White House oversight these days by an administration that refuses to participate with subpoenas, make aides available for hearings, etc. etc.

But when it comes to border politics, Democrats may have cracked the Trump code. Vocal protests of administration policies, combined with showy Congressional hearings, seem to connect. Democrats complain, and policies change to some extent.

Rep. Veronica Escobar of El Paso is one of the Democrats leading that effort. VICE News talked to her about her efforts.

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AP Top Stories June 28 A

Here’s the latest for Friday June 28th: Trump jokes with Putin about election meddling; Democrats hold second debate; El Paso bishop protests immigration policy; NASA plans unmanned trip to Saturn’s largest moon.

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Video shows people climbing fence at border

Video shot at the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, shows migrants climbing a fence as Border Patrol agents look on. It’s unclear whether the migrants were climbing toward the U.S. or Mexico side of the border. (June 27)

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Migrant children held at border describe neglect

Lawyers who interviewed migrant children at a US Customs and Border Protection facility near El Paso, Texas say the children are dirty, don’t have enough food or water, and that some were separated from parents or siblings. (June 21)

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Border Patrol says it found largest-ever migrant group

A group of 1,036 migrants that crossed the border illegally into El Paso, Texas, is the largest the Border Patrol has ever encountered, the agency said Thursday. (May 31)

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Migrants at the Border Feel They Have No Choice But to Enter the U.S. Illegally (HBO)

EL PASO, Texas — In the two hours before sunset on a recent afternoon, Border Patrol agents working the line between Ciudad Juárez and El Paso saw more than 100 migrants step over the Rio Grande and into the United States.

They were nearly all families traveling together from Central America seeking asylum, and they crossed in groups ranging from six people to 40. When they spotted Border Patrol vehicles, they calmly walked over to turn themselves in — the first step to requesting asylum for those who enter the country illegally.

Carlos, a migrant from Honduras who crossed the border carrying a pale and coughing toddler, said he had initially planned to cross legally through an official port of entry. But out of the tens of thousands of people waiting, the U.S. allows in only a small percentage of asylum seekers on any given day.

“The truth is that my son couldn’t wait,” said Carlos. “He is very sick.”

The number of people found crossing the border illegally has shot up dramatically since the beginning of the year. In April, according to data released last week by CBP, the number nearly hit 100,000 — the highest it’s been in 12 years.

That’s as clear an indication as possible that the Trump administration’s strategy to deter Central American asylum seekers — which includes metering at ports of entry, expanded detention, and forcing families back to Mexico to wait out their asylum cases — has failed. VICE News went to the border to find out why.

This segment originally aired May 15, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

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US to house more immigrants in tents at the border

The U.S. government is opening two new facilities that could start taking immigrants Thursday. The facilities in El Paso, Texas and the Rio Grande Valley offer bathrooms, recreation areas and sleeping quarters. (May 3)

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Life After Release From ICE Detention (HBO)

With thousands of Central American migrants turning themselves in to Border Patrol to ask for asylum each day, the U.S. is running out of space to hold them. So starting this winter ICE has been releasing them from detention into communities on the border.

Dropped into a country they know nothing about, often with no resources, their fate is left in the hands of good samaritans, nonprofits, churches, and even helpful bus station employees.

VICE News followed Brenda Del Carmen, a young mother who had never before left the Honduran village where she was born, in the days after she was released. With her four-month-old infant in tow, she tried to make her way from El Paso to Chicago, where her husband and five-year-old daughter had gone two months earlier. Like many others in their small farming community, their coffee crops had fallen sick that year.

“Honduras is really poor right now,” she said. “There is no hope.”

Facing destitution, the family gathered funds to pay a coyote to bring them to the U.S. Brenda traveled for a week with her infant Kimberly, presented herself to Border Patrol, and after a week in ICE custody, was released. She then spent more than 24 hours straight traveling through Texas, Arkansas, and Illinois to reach her family.

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