border security

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

The Senate approved a $19.1 billion disaster aid package Thursday that includes money for states impacted by flooding, recent hurricanes and tornadoes, as well as money for communities rebuilding after wildfires.

The measure passed overwhelmingly — 85-8.

Central American migrants who were detained in a Border Patrol holding facility in McAllen, Texas, described atrocious living conditions and widespread sickness.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection shut down its largest migrant processing center in South Texas for 24 hours on Tuesday after 32 detainees got sick with the flu. This is the same location where a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy became sick, and died Monday at another Border Patrol station.

Editor's note: This story contains descriptions and photos of human remains that some readers may find disturbing.

Border Patrol agents steer their all-terrain buggy through dense brush on the historic King Ranch. They're looking for a human skeleton.

They spotted bones earlier in the day when they were chasing a group of migrants through this pasture, and they marked the GPS coordinates. Now they're returning with a sheriff's deputy.

A 16-year-old has become the fifth migrant child since December to die after being apprehended at the U.S. border.

A federal appeals court has ruled that the Trump administration may continue requiring asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico as they await court proceedings in the United States. It might be seen as a victory for Trump, though a temporary one.

For people familiar with the lonesome highways of far West Texas and New Mexico, it's an unusual sight: The ubiquitous Border Patrol checkpoints are all closed. Last month, Homeland Security shifted the checkpoint agents to the border to help process the crush of migrant asylum-seekers.

Otero County, N.M., is so alarmed by the possibility of illegal narcotics flowing north unchecked that it has declared a local state of emergency.

Hugh Fitzsimons is a rancher and writer. He raises bison at the Shape Ranch in the southwestern part of Dimmit County, about 10 miles away from the Mexican border, north of Laredo, Texas. He considers his ranch a world apart from the two nations divided by the Rio Grande.

"[It is] another country — that's what this borderland is all about. It is not the United States, and it is not Mexico. It is a transitional land," he said.

Fitzsimons grew up on the ranch. He said one thing you should never do is come to someone's home after dark.

With a dramatic shake-up at the highest levels of the Department of Homeland Security, President Trump has signaled that he wants to get even tougher on immigration.

But how much tougher can he get?

Trump has been frustrated with the inability of DHS to stop a surge of Central American migrant families and children from crossing the Southern border.

President Trump repeated a false claim to reporters Tuesday, wrongly blaming the Obama administration for instituting a policy in which children were separated from their parents at the Southern border.

"I'm the one that stopped it," Trump said. "President Obama had child separation."

Trump made the comments during a photo op prior to his meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.

President Trump is backing down from his threat to shut down the U.S. Southern border as soon as this week.

Trump had issued the warning in a bid to curtail surging border crossings by asylum-seekers from Central America. Instead, he is now giving Mexico "a one-year warning" to address his concerns about its handling of immigrants traveling through the country on the way to the United States. He also demanded that Mexico tamp down on the flow of drugs.

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