Mexico

Over the past 41 years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been buying up land on the lower Texas-Mexico border to protect one of the most biologically diverse regions in North America from developers and farmers.

But the Rio Grande Valley of Texas is a hotspot for illegal immigration and drug smuggling, as well as biodiversity. That's why the Trump administration is planning to build 110 miles of border wall through the valley (which is actually a river delta).

Customs and Border Protection agents apprehended or refused entry to fewer people at the U.S.-Mexico border in December than in the previous month – the latest in a gradual downward trend since such enforcement actions reached a 13-year peak in May amid a Trump administration crackdown.

Updated at 5:51 p.m. ET

A federal appeals court has handed the Trump administration a victory by allowing the president to tap military construction funds to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

A divided 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued the decision late Wednesday, reversing a lower court order that stopped Trump from using $3.6 billion in U.S Defense Department money to construct the long-promised border wall.

For a moment, Jesus thought his ordeal was coming to an end. Three months after fleeing Venezuela, he got his chance to tell a judge how he and his mother escaped political persecution.

"The judge asked me three questions," Jesus said in Spanish through an interpreter. "What's your nationality? Why did you leave your country? Why can't you go back?"

The FBI says it is offering help to authorities in Mexico investigating a shooting attack on an American family that killed a 13-year-old child and wounded others, including a 10-year-old relative, over the weekend.

The attack, according to The Associated Press, took place on a seldom-used road in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, south of Texas on Saturday.

The AP reports that Tamaulipas Attorney General's office said the child was a U.S. citizen and that the parents were permanent U.S. residents.

It was never easy for migrants to win asylum cases in U.S. immigration courts. But now, it's nearly impossible.

Out of tens of thousands of migrants who have arrived at the southern border in recent months, just 117 have been granted protection by a judge. That's according to the latest immigration court data released Thursday by the TRAC Immigration project at Syracuse University.

A federal judge in Texas on Tuesday blocked the Trump administration from using $3.6 billion in funds allocated by Congress for military construction projects to help pay for a wall on the southern border.

House Democrats and organized labor have thrown their support behind an updated trade agreement among the U.S., Mexico and Canada. The announcement came on the same day Democrats unveiled articles of impeachment against President Trump.

"This is a day we've all been working to," declared House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "There is no question, of course, that this trade agreement is much better than NAFTA. But in terms of our work here, it is infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration."

During 2019, the curveballs thrown at farmers began with the partial government shutdown in January, when some U.S. Department of Agriculture agencies were closed. Spring brought a storm system—called a bomb cyclone—that dumped rain on top of frozen fields unable to make use of it, kicking off weeks of flooding exacerbated by additional precipitation. Planting ran later than usual and some farmers never got a cash crop into certain saturated fields.

The number of people apprehended by U.S. authorities, either attempting to cross the southwest border illegally or presenting themselves at a port of entry, declined for the fifth consecutive month, according to new figures released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Just over 45,000 people were apprehended in October, down from a spike of 144,000 in May — an almost 70 percent decline.

Authorities also report a significant demographic shift among those apprehended.

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