Covering the Border Wars

By Dalglish, Lucy | News Media and the Law, Winter 2011 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Covering the Border Wars

Dalglish, Lucy, News Media and the Law

The Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border is one of die most dangerous places in die world to be a reporter. As difficult as it sometimes is for American reporters to get access to government meetings, records and court proceedings, at least they don't get jailed, beaten, shot or beheaded when covering a corrupt American politician or drug boss.

As Stephen Miller's cover story illustrates, every time a Mexican journalist writes a story about Mexican drug cartels, they risk assassination. Some Mexican journalists are seeking asylum in die U.S., while American journalists have dramatically cut back on how often they cross the border to report stories. As a result, citizens on both sides of the border are deprived of information about how dangerous the situation really is.

But that's not the only border story. Every month we get several calls from reporters in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas seeking help to pry information out of the federal government about illegal immigrants they have in custody: Where were they picked up? Are they charged with a crime? What's going to happen to them? Most of them disappear into a bureaucratic black hole in the desert.

It wasn't always this way. In the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, the federal government dramatically changed the way it manages cases involving foreign nationals - not just for the 1,200 mosdy Muslim, Arab men secredy arrested after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, but routine arrests of illegals along the Mexican border as well.

Prior to 9/11, reporters seldom had trouble covering deportation hearings. But in September 2001, then-Chief Immigration Judge Michael Creppy ordered immigration judges to close immigration hearings and seal all immigration proceeding records.

Although media and civil rights groups fded lawsuits, the results have caused nothing but frustration and confusion. In Detroit Free Press v. Ashcroft, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati (6th Cir.) found in 2002 that across-the-board closure of immigration proceedings was unconstitutional under the First Amendment's presumption of openness.

About one month later, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia (3rd Cir.) ruled in North Jersey Media Group, Inc. v. Ashcroft diat a blanket closure of immigration courts was justified by the potential direat to national security.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Covering the Border Wars


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?