Richard Gonzales

Correspondent Richard Gonzales is based in San Francisco. His reports are featured regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.

Gonzales describes his beat this way: "Willie Brown, Jerry Brown, medical pot, gay marriage, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court, and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California the rest of the country should know about. California has the reputation for generating new ideas and trends and we try to keep track of them."

He began his California stint in September 1995, after spending a year studying the impact of international trade and information technology on the American political process as a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University.

Gonzales joined NPR in May 1986 when he covered the U.S. State Department during the Iran-Contra Affair and the fall of apartheid in South Africa. In August 1990, he assumed the post of White House Correspondent and reported on the prelude to the Gulf War and President George Bush's unsuccessful re-election bid. From 1993 through 1994, Gonzales covered the U.S. Congress, focusing on NAFTA and immigration and welfare reform.

In 1988 Gonzales received a World Hunger Media Award for "Street Children in Maputo." He was also honored by the World Affairs Council of Northern California in 1984 for his documentary on the war-ravaged Miskito Indians of Nicaragua.

Before joining NPR in May 1986, Gonzales was a freelance producer at KQED-TV/San Francisco. From 1979 to 1985, he was a reporter, producer, and later, public affairs director at station KPFA-FM/Berkeley.

Gonzales graduated from Harvard College in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and social relations. He is a co-founder of Familias Unidas, a bi-lingual social services program in his hometown of Richmond, California.

The line of immigrants applying to become U.S. citizens is becoming longer.

There has been a backlog of citizen applications for years. But the backlog has increased dramatically since President Trump took office. Immigrant advocates say this has become the Trump administration's "second wall."

On a recent workday evening, three immigrants sit in a small airless room in San Francisco for a free citizenship class. Their instructor, Samuel Bianco, dictates some key facts about American civics, slowly, so they can take notes.

Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

In a federal courtroom in Texas today, the debate over the Trump administration's immigration policies shifted from separated families to another group of young immigrants.

They are the ones who were brought to the United States as children and grew up here. About 700,000 young people were protected from deportation under the Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

In a legal setback for the Trump administration's immigration policies, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., has ruled that the government may not arbitrarily detain people seeking asylum.

The ruling comes in a case challenging the administration's policy of detaining people even after they have passed a credible fear interview and await a hearing on their asylum claim.

The controversy over President Trump's executive order to end the policy of separating migrant families who cross into the U.S. illegally is shifting to the courts.

President Trump's chief of staff, Gen. John Kelly, said he has never seriously considered leaving his job and indicated that he's in lockstep with the president on many issues. Kelly says they have "a close relationship" and spend up to eight hours a day together.

"My view is to speak truth to power. I always give my opinion on everything. He always listens," he said. "Sometimes he takes the opinion, sometimes he doesn't."

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the administration's "zero tolerance" policy that calls for separating families who cross the border illegally, saying the undocumented immigrants shouldn't get special treatment.

"That's no different than what we do every day in every part of the United States — when an adult of a family commits a crime," she told NPR. "If you as a parent break into a house, you will be incarcerated by police and thereby separated from your family."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday that the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security will partner to prosecute anyone illegally crossing the southwest border and separate children from parents.

Updated at 3:40 a.m. ET on Wednesday

A woman with an apparent grudge against YouTube for what she claimed was censoring and de-monetizing her videos, opened fire at the video-sharing service's San Bruno, Calif., headquarters, wounding several people before fatally shooting herself, according to police.

Updated Saturday at 10:20 a.m. ET

The Trump administration released an order on Friday night that would disqualify most transgender people from serving in the military.

The new rules follow President Trump's calls last year for a complete ban on transgender military service. The White House said people with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria — the medical diagnosis for those who receive treatment, often during their transition — are disqualified from serving except under "certain limited circumstances."

As Texas prepares to implement a law banning "sanctuary city" policies in that state, immigrant advocates say they will be documenting how the law is enforced as they continue their legal fight against it.

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