• Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast


    Homeschooler Can’t Prove She’s American

    Her parents homeschooled Alecia Faith Pennington and never filed for government ID. Now she can’t get a job, buy an airline ticket or have a normal life.

    “My name is Alecia Faith Pennington and I’m a U. S. citizen by birth.”

    That’s how Alecia Pennington’s YouTube video begins; the 19-year-old Texas native declares with a quiet confidence that she’s a citizen of the United States, born on American soil.

  • Giles Clarke/Getty

    Crisis at the border

    ‘We Cannot Return to Guatemala’

    Conservatives are blaming the immigration crisis on the president, but one mother who crossed the border says she’s never heard of Obama’s laws—she just wants to save her children.

    SAN DIEGO — “No podemos volver a Guatemala. We cannot return to Guatemala,” Elvina tells me. She’s just arrived at Border Angels, a local San Diego charity, with three of her four children. Her eldest son, an 18-year-old, is being held separately as an adult in a detention center. He may have already been deported back to Guatemala; Elvina has no way to find him or contact him.

    She tells me about the amenaza de muerte—the death threats—that keep her from wanting to return home.  “Los mareros”—the notorious MS-13 gang—“threatened us. They beat up my husband. They wanted my sons to join their gang.”

  • via Facebook


    The Bridge’s Striking Heroine

    The striking German actress on the drama’s improved Season 2 and whether she’s ever seen her partner Joshua Jackson’s ‘Dawson’s Creek.’ [Warning: Some spoilers.]

    Hers was “the face that launched a thousand ships.” Now, a decade after making her big-screen splash in the sword-and-sandals blockbuster Troy, Diane Kruger is no longer a model-turned-ingénue, but a versatile actress who can convincingly portray anyone from a German screen siren/spy (Inglourious Basterds) to a treasure hunter with a Ph.D. (the National Treasure films). But on FX’s gritty drama The Bridge, she’s taken her talent to a different level.

    Kruger plays Det. Sonya Cross, a member of the El Paso Police Department who, when she’s not investigating rampant corruption and violence along the border between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico—the show’s title refers to the Bridge of the Americas border crossing—is busy managing her Asperger’s. The socially awkward Cross has found an odd ally in Det. Marco Ruiz (Demian Bichir), a world-weary homicide detective for the Mexican State Police of Chihuahua.

  • John Moore/Getty

    Human Rights

    Is Border Patrol Abusing Immigrant Kids?

    The ACLU and four other immigrants rights groups issued a complaint, Tuesday, detailing reports of what they call systemic abuse against unaccompanied immigrant children by Customs and Border Protection Officials and called on the Department of Homeland Security to put a stop to it.

    Sixteen-year-old G.G. says she was apprehended in Texas by Border Patrol agents who told her they would kill her if she tried to run. “Your little scheme won’t work to keep you here in the U.S.,” an agent reportedly told her, accusing G.G. of lying when she told them her age. She says she was detained by Customs and Border Protection for a total of nine days in five different detention centers—each one worse than the last. CBP officials allegedly fed her moldy bread and, when she vomited from the food, accused her of being pregnant and called her a “dirty liar.” Her bed consisted of a thin sheet of paper on the floor of her cell and the bathroom, without doors or garbage cans, was covered in used toilet paper and sanitary pads. “You’re the garbage that contaminates this country,” CBP officials reportedly told her.

    ‪This is just one of 116 different, yet equally horrifying, individual tales included in a report released Tuesday (PDF) on alleged rampant abuses by U.S. Customs and Border Protection—the federal agency that includes Border Patrol—against unaccompanied immigrant children. The rapid influx of kids, many of them from Central America, illegally crossing the border into Texas over the past few months has captured recent headlines. Unable to accommodate all of the children apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley, Customs and Border Protection have been sending unaccompanied minors by the hundreds to detention centers in Arizona over the past few days and even more are expected. According to a recent investigation by Mother Jones, 70,000 kids will cross the border without parents this year. As senior administration officials confirmed during a media conference call earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that includes Customs and Border Protection, was in no way prepared for the high volume of undocumented children and, as such, are scrambling to accommodate them.

  • DANIEL NEYOY RUIZ, center, is an undocumented immigrant taking sanctuary at the Southside Presbyterian Church because his self-deportation order expires tonight at midnight; making him subject to mandatory removal. (Will Seberger/ZUMAPRESS.com)


    AZ Church Reviving Sanctuary Movement

    The sanctuary movement for immigrants is being reborn at places like Tucson's Southside Presbyterian Church where Daniel Neyoy and his family dodge deportation.

    TUCSON — Daniel Neyoy Ruiz doesn’t sleep much. He lies awake on the bunk bed he shares with his wife and 13-year-old son, wondering what he will do if he’s forced to leave them. Every police siren sends his stomach into knots: Is this it? Are they coming for me?

    In the light of day, he paints, plays piano and guitar, and occasionally watches TV. The courtyard in the center of Tucson’s Southside Presbyterian Church is as far as he can venture outside the small, windowless room he and his family have called home since they took sanctuary here two weeks ago. He cannot work or drive or even attend a barbecue in the church’s parking lot. He receives the occasional visitor, but many of his family and friends fear that associating with him could be dangerous.

  • Eric Gay/AP

    Say What?

    The Fringe Factor

    Our weekly roundup of far-out statements from our fearless political leaders. By Caitlin Dickson.

    State officials love throwing around the term “terrorism,” while others are extremely distraught about immigration reform. Never a dull moment on the fringe of American politics.

    Texas: Wendy Davis Is a Terrorist

  • A newly-arrived refugee from Bhutan sits in her new home in Tucson, Arizona. (John Moore/Getty)

    Immigration Reform

    How The U.S. Asylum Cutoff Hurts Women

    Immigrants fleeing gender-based violence are disproportionately affected by the one-year deadline for applying for asylum.

    A few years ago a teenage girl was kidnapped from her home in the Balkans, then battered and raped. Her assailants intended to traffic her into prostitution, but she managed to escape. She fled to the United States, where, 13 months later, she applied for asylum. In support of her application, she submitted a psychological evaluation diagnosing her with Post Traumatic-Stress Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder. To explain her delay in seeking asylum, a psychologist testified about the difficulties that inhibited her from talking about her abuse.

    But the immigration judge denied her asylum because she’d missed the one-year-filing deadline. By one month.

  • Campbell Brown, right, interviews actor Eva Longoria. (Marc Bryan-Brown)


    The Latina Revolution

    ‘The tide is changing,’ actress Eva Longoria told the Women in the World summit.

    Sorry, Joe Biden.

    On Friday morning, former Desperate Housewives star and Barack Obama campaign co-chair Eva Longoria announced that there’s only one presidential candidate for whom she’d be willing to volunteer in 2016: Hillary Clinton.