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:

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick at the 2016 Texas GOP convention.

Dan Patrick’s Long History of Toxic Immigrant-Bashing

You know, the kind that might encourage violence in a place like El Paso.

On Saturday morning, a 21-year-old white man allegedly opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle in a Walmart just a few miles from the Bridge of the Americas connecting El Paso to its sister city of Juárez. Stalking terrified shoppers in … Read More

In this July 9, 2019, photo, decorations cover the walls of rooms of immigrants at the U.S. government's newest holding center for migrant children in Carrizo Springs, Texas. Long trailers once used to house oil workers in two-bedroom suites have been turned into 12-person dorms, with two pairs of bunk beds in each bedroom and the living room. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

How Trump Shredded What Little Protection Our System Offers Migrant Kids

The administration uses emergency exceptions to break government rules for detaining migrant minors. What happens when that becomes the norm?

Detaining kids is bad. Don’t take my word for it; listen to the doctors: “Even brief detention can cause psychological trauma and induce long-term mental health risks for children,” wrote the American Academy of Pediatrics in a 2017 policy statement … Read More

A roofer works on a new home under construction Thursday, July 18, 2019, in Houston. A heat wave is expected to send temperatures soaring close to 100 degrees through the weekend across much of the country. The National Weather Service estimates that more than 100 heat records will fall on Saturday. Most will not be the scorching daily highs, but for lack of cooling at night, something called nighttime lows. Those lows will be record highs. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
News, Political Intelligence, The Issue

Texas Workers Are Dying on the Job at Alarming Rates

“Literally, we’re not holding employers liable for the lives of their workers.”

In 2017, a worker in Texas died on the job every 16 hours. They died from electrocution, asphyxiation, falls from roofs, exposure to toxins, equipment malfunctions, heat stroke and automobile collisions. The death toll exceeded the number of murders in … Read More


In Matamoros, Asylum-Seekers Wait, and Wait and Wait

Refugees stranded across the border from Brownsville endure interminable delays, leading some — like the father and daughter who drowned last Sunday — to brave the Rio Grande.

In the Mexican border city of Matamoros, just feet from the Gateway International Bridge to Brownsville, a few dozen asylum-seekers cluster beneath the shade of a lone tree shielding them from the blistering Tamaulipan sun. Children sleep on blankets laid … Read More

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In the Rio Grande Valley, a Fight to Bring Back NPR

The Valley is now the largest market in the nation without an NPR station.

Just after 2 p.m. on May 30, public radio in the Rio Grande Valley — a 4,800-square-mile border region home to 1.4 million Texans — vanished from the airwaves. All Things Considered? Consider it gone. Local news and classical music … Read More

border wall

Democrats Finally Play Hardball on the Border Wall

Emboldened congressional Democrats are going on offense against the wall. And that could be good news for the Rio Grande Valley.

For two and a half years, Congress and President Trump have battled over funding for his beloved border wall. Trump’s never gotten the kind of dough he’s after, but Congress has never truly bucked the president either. Every budget cycle, … Read More


With Proposed Tariffs on Mexico, Trump Attacks Texas

Trump’s 5 percent tax on Mexican goods over Central American immigration would hit Texas harder than any other state.

On Thursday, President Trump announced on Twitter that he plans to impose a 5 percent tariff on all goods coming into the United States from Mexico, effective June 10. The tariff, he warned, would gradually increase until Mexico halts the … Read More