Gus Bova

Gus Bova reports on immigration, the U.S.-Mexico border and grassroots movements for the Observer. He formerly worked at a shelter for asylum-seekers and refugees. You can contact him at [email protected]

By Gus Bova:


John Cornyn’s Weaselly Immigration Record

by | Mon, Sep 16, 2019 at 6:00 am CST
Seagulls fly at the proposed site for a liquefied natural gas export facility along the Brownsville Ship Channel.

Bridge to Nowhere

Where the Texas Gulf Coast meets Mexico, a trio of fossil fuel companies is planning an industrial complex the likes of which Texas’ Rio Grande Valley has never seen.

Where the Texas Gulf Coast meets Mexico, a trio of fossil fuel companies is planning an industrial complex the likes of which Texas’ Rio Grande Valley has never seen. by Gus Bova September 16, 2019  Somewhere along the road … Read More

Beto O'Rourke, Julian Castro

Texas’ Presidential Candidates Break Out Briefly During the Democratic Debate

But it’s probably not enough to challenge the frontrunners.

by Amal Ahmed, Gus Bova, and Andrea Valdez September 13, 2019 The third Democratic presidential debate and all its attendant hullabaloo stampeded into Texas Thursday night. It was a historic night for Texas Southern University, the historically black university in … Read More

border wall

The Trump Administration Blows Its Border Wall Budget in South Texas

A Texas Observer review of federal documents found that Congress gave CBP $445 million to build 25 miles of border wall in Hidalgo County. The money only paid for 13 miles.

The border wall contains multitudes. It’s a monument to racism, a minor inconvenience for would-be border crossers, and a hydrological threat to floodplain communities along the Rio Grande. It’s also a black hole for your tax dollars. In the South … Read More

The tent court facility in Laredo.

Journalists Blocked from Attending Secretive Immigration Tent Courts

Normally, the press can observe immigration court proceedings. But journalists are being turned away from the first asylum hearings in Laredo under the Migrant Protection Protocols.

The Trump administration is conducting asylum hearings in makeshift tent facilities by the ports of entry in Laredo and Brownsville for migrants who have been forced to wait months in Mexico under the chaotic Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program. And … Read More


Senator Lucio Draws Serious Primary Challenge

The Texas Senate’s most conservative Democrat faces two opponents. Is the Valley ready for change?

Democratic state Senator Eddie Lucio Jr. starts choking up over the phone. The 29-year veteran of Texas’ upper chamber is recalling legislation he passed in 2007 requiring health insurers to cover early intervention for kids with autism spectrum disorder. Lucio … Read More

A section of the border wall near Camp Lonestar.

Starr County Proposes Alternative Border Wall Plan

New maps obtained by the Observer represent a local plan developed as part of a Congressionally mandated consultation process.

In a set of maps submitted as a public comment to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) on Tuesday, local officials in Starr County outline an alternative border wall plan for their patch of the Rio Grande Valley, west of McAllen. … Read More

Human Rights

The Consequence of Trump’s New Family Detention Rules

The Trump administration announced a new rule allowing for indefinite detention of migrant families. Game theory suggests it won’t end well.

On Wednesday morning, Trump administration officials announced a final rule that will allow the government to detain migrant children indefinitely in family detention centers while they and their parents await resolution of their asylum cases. Currently, kids may generally be … Read More

An asylum-seeker in Matamoros sports a Team Brownsville bracelet.

Binational Community Struggles to Help Migrants Under ‘Remain in Mexico’

In the sister cities of Matamoros and Brownsville, Trump’s new policies are straining good Samaritans.

On a mid-August evening in Matamoros, Pastor Abraham Barberi can’t wipe the sweat from his forehead fast enough. As the Tamaulipan sun beats down, Barberi arranges styrofoam cups of red Kool-Aid on a fold-out table, then begins handing out ham … Read More

Aaron Mendez, director of a migrant shelter in Nuevo Laredo.

Nuevo Laredo Shelter Director Reportedly Kidnapped After Protecting Cuban Migrants

In the city where Trump is stranding hundreds of asylum seekers under the policies known as 'Remain in Mexico' and 'metering,' Aarón Méndez has disappeared.

On August 3, Aarón Méndez, the director of a migrant shelter in the Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo, was kidnapped by members of organized crime while defending asylum-seekers at his refuge, according to numerous media accounts and two sources … Read More