Immigration Track: Finding the story: Immigration (advanced)

  • Event: 2019 IRE Conference
  • Speakers: Silvia Foster-Frau of San Antonio Express-News; Lomi Kriel of Houston Chronicle
  • Date/Time: Thursday, Jun. 13 at 10:15am
  • Location: River Oaks A
  • Audio file: No audio file available.

On any given day, about 45,000 people are in immigrant detention, a number that has increased under the Trump administration’s policies and put government facilities at capacity.

Prosecutions for illegal entry swamp federal courts, making up about 80 percent of the dockets of cases in districts along the border, and a record of more than 869,000 people are waiting for their cases to be heard in immigration courts, with an average wait time stretching longer than two years.

During last year’s family separation crisis, parents were sent to a series of detention centers run by different government agencies while kids were sent to federal shelters run by nonprofits and private companies across the country making billions of dollars while facing little public scrutiny. Meanwhile, more than 12,000 migrant children who traveled here without their parents are in government shelters and the administration is trying to expand its capacity to hold more minors.

What are the governmental agencies and private companies that run these facilities? How are they making their money and where are their contracts? And how does the Trump administration’s policies and practices affect the lives of those forced to live in them?

Over the past two years, 22 immigrants have died in custody, the highest number since 2009.

Building on the previous session, we delve into the intersection of criminal and immigration law, how to use court data to parse it, and examine ways to look into the secretive adult detention centers and the shelters holding migrant children.

This session is good for: Anyone. No technical skills are needed for this workshop.

Speaker Bios

  • Silvia Foster-Frau covers immigration for the San Antonio Express-News. She won Texas AP Star Reporter of the Year in the biggest newspaper category for her work last year covering immigration and the Sutherland Springs community's recovery from the 5th deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. She has lived in Spain and in Mexico, was a Hearst Journalism Fellow from 2015-2017, and graduated from Grinnell College with a bachelor's in English in 2015. @SilviaElenaFF

  • Lomi Kriel, the immigration reporter at the Houston Chronicle, was the first to uncover the separation of migrant families at the border in November 2017. She frequently reports from the border and previously was based in Central America for Reuters & covered criminal justice for the San Antonio Express-News. She holds a master of arts in journalism from Columbia University & is a Texas Longhorn. Born and raised in South Africa, she speaks Spanish and Afrikaans. @lomikriel

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