She begged him not to leave Mexico again. But the lure of America was powerful, and deadly

12/1/2017 The Los Angeles Times 

border usa mexicoOn a cloudy morning last October, Agustin Poblete Ortega stopped by his wife’s house to tell her he was leaving again. Rosa Icela Nava, then 27, didn’t want him to go. Her whole life she had been surrounded by men who had gone north, and sometimes never returned. And while her relationship with Poblete had been rocky over the last year — she had moved out of his family’s house because of his drinking — he was a good father to their two young daughters. She wanted to ask him to stay, to tell him about the sick feeling in her stomach. But Nava kept her feelings inside, as was her habit. “I can’t stop you,” she told him. “Take care of the kids,” he said.


If Poblete was addicted to alcohol — he could never have just one tequila or beer — he was also addicted to American wages. On his five previous trips north, he had grown accustomed to earning $15 an hour. Back in his hometown of Malinalco, Mexico, he chafed as bosses handed him the equivalent of just $10 after a day of hard work.

He had been part of a large wave of Mexicans returning home in recent years, a phenomenon fueled by harsher conditions in the U.S. and new opportunities back home that is upending the immigration narrative on both sides of the border.

Coming back to Mexico is not easy for everybody. For Poblete, who had tasted the good life north of the border, the real winners in Mexico’s growing economy seemed to be the millionaire business and political leaders who arrived by helicopter to play at Malinalco’s exclusive golf resort — not high school dropouts like him.
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In Mexico, they made a new American dream — minus their kids

12/1/2017 The Los Angeles Times 

460xThe home that American dollars built stands out among the dusty adobe farmhouses and crumbling concrete shacks on the edge of this rural Mexican town.

Visitors may wryly refer to it as a “hacienda” because of its grandiose touches — the elaborate wooden entryway, the curved staircase leading up to the front door — but with its red brick, pitched roof and garage sheltering a bright blue SUV, what it really looks like is a little bit of Texas. Athens, Texas. That’s where German and Gloria Almanza spent two decades toiling in factories and building, cleaning and repairing other people’s homes so that one day they could make a place of their own back in Mexico — a place to finish raising their two kids. When in 2012 the couple brought their children back to their hometown of Malinalco, a picturesque pueblo two hours southwest of Mexico City, they were not alone. Census data show more than 1 million Mexicans and their families left the U.S. for Mexico between 2009 and 2014, and fewer made their way north — a major demographic shift that is reshaping the immigration equation and having profound effects on both countries.

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Trump admin taking quiet steps on seizing border land, report says

11/13/2017 CNN

Although approval for a new border wall has yet to come, the Trump administration has taken subtle steps to be able to seize land to build one, including by restarting litigation that has laid dormant for years against landowners, according to a new report from Senate Democrats.

Roughly two-thirds of the US-Mexico border runs through private or state-owned lands, meaning the federal government would need to purchase, seize or seek permission to use land in order to build a border wall. Based on efforts a decade ago to build border fencing, that process is likely to cost the government millions and could take years of complex litigation.

And it appears the administration is gearing up for it.

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Mexico’s earthquakes complicate life for Central American migrants fleeing violence

10/30/2017 PRI

On a sultry summer morning, Central American migrants huddled together in the courtyard of the Hermanos en el Camino migrant shelter in Ixtepec, Oaxaca, discussing the complexities of checkers.

Joel Álvarez, 27, moved one of the plastic bottle caps that served as checkers pieces over a piece of plywood lacquered with blue and red squares, painted with nail polish. When Álvarez successfully got a piece into his opponent’s side of the board he flipped the bottle cap over, crowning it king. He calls checkers an “obligatory pastime.”

The checkers games at this migrant shelter are a fun distraction from long, boring days where the temperature often climbs up to 100 degrees. Most migrants standing here fled violent gangs in Honduras, El Salvador or Guatemala. Álvarez had two older brothers who were recruited to work for rival gangs. They urged their younger brother not to take the same path; both were dead by age 24.

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Prototypes for US-Mexico border wall unveiled

10/24/2017 CNBC

Source: CNBC

Nine months after President Donald Trump took office, the first tangible signs of progress on one of the central promises of his campaign have appeared along the U.S. border with Mexico.

A couple of miles from the bustling Otay Mesa border crossing in San Diego, eight towering chunks of concrete and steel stand as high as 30 feet tall against the sky, offering possible models for what Trump has promised will one day be a solid wall extending the full length of the southern border, from California to Texas.

Whether any of the eight different prototypes, constructed over the last month, become part of an actual wall remains highly uncertain.

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Exclusive: Tech companies to lobby for immigrant ‘Dreamers’ to remain in U.S.

10/19/2017 Reuters

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants 2 participate in march for Immigrants and Mexicans protesting against Illegal Immigration reform by U.S. Congress, Los Angeles, CA, May 1, 2006SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Nearly two dozen major companies in technology and other industries are planning to launch a coalition to demand legislation that would allow young, illegal immigrants a path to permanent residency, according to documents seen by Reuters.

The Coalition for the American Dream intends to ask Congress to pass bipartisan legislation this year that would allow these immigrants, often referred to as “Dreamers,” to continue working in the United States, the documents said.

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Border gunbattles leave 11 dead in northern Mexico

10/17/2017 The Washington Post

A running series of gunbattles caused at least 11 deaths in the northern Mexico border state of Tamauilpas, authorities said Monday.

Officials said the shootouts in the border city of Reynosa and the nearby town of Rio Bravo started late Sunday. Gunmen hijacked vehicles and used them to block streets, and spread bent nails to puncture tires to facilitate their getaways. Authorities called in a helicopter to support ground patrols moving to break up the roadblocks.

One group of four gunmen was killed near a gas station after they opened fire on a military patrol, officials said. Three other bodies were discovered at other points around Rio Bravo.

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