Border roundup: Obama's immigration policy goals, Peña Nieto takes on cartels
Politics and policy
President Obama outlined his approach for comprehensive immigration reform in a Tuesday speech that "championed" a bipartisan senate plan that includes a path to citizenship. That widely anticipated plan was unveiled the day before by five of the eight participating senators including both senators from Arizona. Sen. John McCain delivered a statement and a question and answer about the plan, calling it "difficult, but achievable," and the White House released a fact sheet to accompany the speech.
The bipartisan plan for immigration and President Obama's speech both produced a wide variety of reactions including politicians who called the plan 'amnesty' and the academics who fact checked them. The Huffington Post looked for online reactions from readers in the four U.S.-Mexico border states while The Texas Tribune broke down responses of state lawmakers and stakeholders. In Arizona border ranchers met to listen to politicians and voice their concerns about addressing border security and immigrant rights group said their focus is on reforms that keep families together.
After successfully recalling Russell Pearce from the Arizona Senate, members of the group that campaigned for his removal have filed paperwork for a similar recall campaign against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Respect Arizona has 120 days from filing paperwork with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office to collect "more than 350,000 valid signatures" from registered voters to trigger a recall election.
An autopsy report on José Antonio Elena Rodríguez has raised new questions about his death last October. The 16-year-old was killed in Nogales, Sonora by Border Patrol agents who say they fired through the U.S.-Mexico border fence at suspects throwing rocks at them. However the autopsy report states that entry and exit wounds indicate that all but one of 11 bullets hit him from behind and he may have been lying on the ground.
The Center for Investigative Reporting has revealed corruption charges against 147 border enforcement agents since 2004 according to a government study hidden for more than a year.
Perla Trevizo investigates three reported incidents where casino workers reported customers to Border Patrol.
Border Patrol agents give a bit more detail on the seizures and arrests from the last week in January.
Federal authorities are charging two men in the deaths of three immigrants being smuggled through Texas. The three young men died when the Chevrolet Tahoe transporting them crashed during a car chase with law enforcement. Nine other survivors from the accident are also in custody.
Keith Rosenblum tells the story of a friend's attempt to leave the U.S. without being stopped and detained for illegal entry and return to Mexico.
Across the border
Nogales, Sonora's San Juan Bosco migrant shelter has worked with over 1 million people since Juan Francisco and Gilda Loureiro founded it 31 years ago and on its anniversary, the couple tell the shelter's story from a cold night in 1982 to Perla Trevizo.
In Guadalajara, Amanda Holpuch talks to young adults who grew up undocumented in the U.S. and returned to Mexico before DACA about adjusting to life in a new country.
Dudley Althaus explores the vigilante justice being practiced in the countryside around Acapulco where volunteers have armed themselves, taken law enforcement into their own hands and are negotiating turning detainees whose crimes range from theft and cartel connection to murder and kidnapping over to the government.
The scenes of detainees handcuffed in front of seized drugs or weapons used everywhere after a big bust but this January Mexican law enforcement will "stop parading detainees in front of the news media, stop using defendants’ nicknames and stop naming the drug cartel the person worked for," a policy change that comes from new Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's administration and may be aimed at reducing cartel notoriety.
Juárez police commander Rafael Ochoa Leyva is expected to recover from a bullet wound recieved in an attack that may be connected to his success as head of the auto theft unit which, over the last two years, has arrested over 200 suspects and reduced car thefts in the city by 70 percent.
Eight bodies found in a Nuevo Leon well in are being identified and include some of the 20 Kombo Kolombia band members kidnapped late Thursday after being hired for a private performance in Monterrey. The band, which included 12 musicians and eight crew members, was not known to be associated with cartels or play narcocorridos, songs that celebrate their activities. The bodies are being tested for DNA and law enforcement is investigating those who planned the event, acknowledging that it may have been planned as a trap.
An explosion at Mexico's state-owned oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), that killed 37 people and injured more than 100 has been attributed to a buildup of leaked gas ignited by a stray spark. The explosion was considered a "key test" for new Mexican President Peña Nieto's promise of transparency because Mexico's oil industry has a reputation for "a horrendous accident record, widespread corruption and antiquated infrastructure." Another explosion at a Pemex plant near Reynosa followed a month of unexplained fires and killed at least 26 in September.