When Congress thinks about border security, it often sees a big, imposing fence.
The federal government has spent $2.3 billion to build the fence β 649 miles of steel fencing, in sections, between the U.S. and Mexico, designed to help control the illegal movement of people and contraband.
It's called tactical infrastructure, and the Border Patrol says it works. But people on the lower Texas border have another name for it: a boondoggle.
The influx of tens of thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children to the U.S. has sparked a controversy in an unlikely place far from the U.S.-Mexico border: a tiny town in southern Virginia.
The federal government had struck a deal to house some of the migrants in an empty college in Lawrenceville, in the heart of Virginia's tobacco belt. The first busload was expected as early as Thursday, but a local backlash has put the plan on hold.
You have no idea what some people will do to reach the United States until you hear their stories.
I've understood this truth ever since I went to Afghanistan in 2001. A man told me how he left his country without any travel documents and somehow crossed Iran by bus and foot, only to be caught in Turkey and sent back. He didn't give up, and a few years later came to visit me in Washington.
After a long spell of partisan trench warfare and gridlock, President Obama called for "a year of action" Tuesday as he focused on themes that are central to his second-term agenda. The changes he proposed in his annual State of the Union speech were relatively modest, but flashes of ambition showed in his promise to move forward, with or without Congress, to address issues of income inequality.
Here's what President Obama proposed on the policy front: