Jay Root Reporter

Jay Root is a native of Liberty. He never knew any reporters growing up, and he has never taken a journalism class in his life. But somehow he got hooked on the news business. It all started when Root walked into the offices of The Daily Texan, his college newspaper, during his last year at the University of Texas in 1987. He couldn't resist the draw: it was the biggest collection of misfits ever assembled. After graduating, he took a job at a Houston chemical company and soon realized it wasn't for him. Root applied for an unpaid internship at the Houston Post in 1990, and it turned into a full-time job that same year. He has been a reporter ever since. Root has covered natural disasters, live music and Texas politics — not necessarily in that order. He was Austin bureau chief of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for a dozen years, most of them good. He also covered politics and the Legislature for The Associated Press before joining the staff of the Tribune.Root is the author of “Oops! A Diary From The 2012 Campaign Trail,” an insider’s account of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s dramatic collapse in the 2012 presidential race. The book was released in September, 2012.

Recent Contributions

Roma, Texas: A Smuggler's Paradise

From Roma, Texas, Border Patrol Agent Isaac Villegas looks out over the Rio Grande and into Ciudad Miguel Alemán, Mexico, on March 8, 2016.
From Roma, Texas, Border Patrol Agent Isaac Villegas looks out over the Rio Grande and into Ciudad Miguel Alemán, Mexico, on March 8, 2016.

Multiple inflatable rafts on the water. Emotionally shaken kids in the back of Border Patrol vans. Dope dumped on the river’s edge. The Texas Tribune witnessed all that and more during an afternoon with the U.S. Border Patrol.

Voices from the Border: Illegal Crossings and Deportations

Milton Otoniel Lopez Chupin, from Santa Tecla Libertad, El Salvador, in the courtyard at the Casa del Migrante migrant shelter in Matamoros, Mexico, on Nov. 3, 2015.
Milton Otoniel Lopez Chupin, from Santa Tecla Libertad, El Salvador, in the courtyard at the Casa del Migrante migrant shelter in Matamoros, Mexico, on Nov. 3, 2015.

Every month, busloads of deported undocumented immigrants arrive at the southern border, returning to Mexico after serving prison time in the United States. Meanwhile, other migrants prepare to attempt illegal border crossings. This story is part of our "Bordering on Insecurity" series.

Immigration Saga Leaves Teen Trapped in Mexico

Marcus Francisco Valencia Rodriguez, 19 years old, in the courtyard at the Casa del Migrante migrant shleter in Matamoros, Mexico, on Nov. 2, 2015.
Marcus Francisco Valencia Rodriguez, 19 years old, in the courtyard at the Casa del Migrante migrant shleter in Matamoros, Mexico, on Nov. 2, 2015.

Marcos Valencia was raised in Indiana, but in the eyes of the law, his home is the cartel-infested state of Tamaulipas, Mexico, where he was born. Now he's stuck in Mexico, unable to return to the country where he grew up.

After Deportation, Killer Returned Easily to U.S.

Juan Leonardo Quintero, an undocumented immigrant pictured here in 2015 in a visitation booth at the maximum-security Allred Unit near Wichita Falls, is serving a life sentence for the 2006 murder of Houston Police Officer Rodney Johnson.
Juan Leonardo Quintero, an undocumented immigrant pictured here in 2015 in a visitation booth at the maximum-security Allred Unit near Wichita Falls, is serving a life sentence for the 2006 murder of Houston Police Officer Rodney Johnson.

Deported to his native Mexico for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl, Juan Leonardo Quintero returned to Houston and easily resumed his life. When he killed a police officer in 2006, Quintero became a poster child for loose border enforcement.

"Criminal Aliens" Flashpoint of Border Security Debate

A group of undocumented Mexican national ex-offenders enter Mexico at the US-Mexico border crossing at Brownsville/Matamoros after being deported from the United States on Nov. 4, 2015.
A group of undocumented Mexican national ex-offenders enter Mexico at the US-Mexico border crossing at Brownsville/Matamoros after being deported from the United States on Nov. 4, 2015.

How to deal with, or talk about, foreigners who commit crimes in the United States — the government’s term for them is the politically incorrect “criminal aliens” — has prompted heated calls for vastly different solutions.