Julián Aguilar Reporter

Julián Aguilar reports on politics and border affairs from the Texas-Mexico border. His focuses include immigration reform and enforcement, voter ID, international trade, border security, and the drug trade. His political coverage has included local, legislative and congressional races in Texas, as well as local and national elections in Mexico. Before joining the Tribune, he was a freelance writer for the Fort Worth Weekly; a government and crime reporter for the Laredo Morning Times; and a political writer for the Rio Grande Guardian. A native of El Paso, he has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Texas and a master's degree in journalism from the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism at the University of North Texas.

Recent Contributions

Guard's Arrival on Border Brings Relief, Concerns

Texas Department of Public Safety officers patrol Anzalduas Park as part of Operation Strong Safety. Texas National Guard soldiers deployed to the area on Monday will help DPS in its mission, officials said.
Texas Department of Public Safety officers patrol Anzalduas Park as part of Operation Strong Safety. Texas National Guard soldiers deployed to the area on Monday will help DPS in its mission, officials said.

The arrival of the Texas National Guard to the border has been met with praise by some who say the state is taking the lead in securing the border. Others say the deployment is overkill that only serves to hamper the local economy.

Letters Highlight Local Tension Over Increased Border Security

A Customs and Border Protection vehicle patrols on the Texas border near the Rio Grande, Thursday, July 24, 2014, in Mission, Texas. Texas is spending $1.3 million a week for a bigger DPS presence along the border.
A Customs and Border Protection vehicle patrols on the Texas border near the Rio Grande, Thursday, July 24, 2014, in Mission, Texas. Texas is spending $1.3 million a week for a bigger DPS presence along the border.

A coalition of ranchers and business owners from South Texas is pushing back against border officials who have criticized the build-up of law enforcement on the Rio Grande.

Congress' Inaction Leaves Border Communities Hoping for Funding

A detainee sleeps in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Brownsville, Texas. CPB provided media tours Tuesday of two locations in Brownsville and Nogales, Ariz. that have been central to processing the more than 47,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally since Oct. 1.
A detainee sleeps in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Brownsville, Texas. CPB provided media tours Tuesday of two locations in Brownsville and Nogales, Ariz. that have been central to processing the more than 47,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally since Oct. 1.

When Congress adjourned last week without passing a border security bill to pay for additional operations, it also left local governments without an avenue to be reimbursed for millions spent during the border crisis.

In El Paso, a Plan for a Homeless Shelter With Female Veterans in Mind

Hope Jackson, who retired as a lieutenant colonel in the Army, is shown on the future site of her HOPE (Healing, Optimizing, Perfecting, Empowering) Institute shelter for female veterans, on July 29, 2014, in El Paso. The shelter will start providing services to women in the area this fall, Jackson says.
Hope Jackson, who retired as a lieutenant colonel in the Army, is shown on the future site of her HOPE (Healing, Optimizing, Perfecting, Empowering) Institute shelter for female veterans, on July 29, 2014, in El Paso. The shelter will start providing services to women in the area this fall, Jackson says.

“God spoke to me," Hope Jackson said about her plan to start a shelter for homeless female veterans in El Paso. Jackson, who is relying on her money and community support to convert a house for the facility, said it would be ready this fall.

Time Running Out for Congress to Address Border Immigration Crisis

A detainee sleeps in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Brownsville, Texas. CPB provided media tours Tuesday of two locations in Brownsville and Nogales, Ariz. that have been central to processing the more than 47,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally since Oct. 1.
A detainee sleeps in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Brownsville, Texas. CPB provided media tours Tuesday of two locations in Brownsville and Nogales, Ariz. that have been central to processing the more than 47,000 unaccompanied children who have entered the country illegally since Oct. 1.

UPDATED: After the U.S. House called off a vote Tuesday afternoon on a $659 million supplemental bill for border security operations, Gov. Rick Perry said Congress is "abandoning its post."

 

Castro Invites Perry to Discuss Border With Texas Reps

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, at a victory party for congressional candidate Pete Gallego at Don Pedro Mexican Restaurant in San Antonio on Nov. 6, 2012.
U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, at a victory party for congressional candidate Pete Gallego at Don Pedro Mexican Restaurant in San Antonio on Nov. 6, 2012.

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, has asked Gov. Rick Perry to meet with the entire Texas congressional delegation to discuss the influx of illegal immigrants at the border and to “help set a more positive tone.”

Cuellar: "Failure is Not an Option" on Border Crisis

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) speaks with state Rep. Doug Miller R-New Braunfels, during a visit to the Texas Capitol on Feb. 19, 2013.
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) speaks with state Rep. Doug Miller R-New Braunfels, during a visit to the Texas Capitol on Feb. 19, 2013.

If lawmakers do not act to address the immigration crisis on Texas' southern border before their August break, smugglers will get the message that the government does not take the crisis seriously, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar says.

Border Surge Prompts Perry to Scale Back Governors Conference

Criticizing a lack of federal response on border issues, Governor Rick Perry announces deployment of up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border on July 21, 2014.
Criticizing a lack of federal response on border issues, Governor Rick Perry announces deployment of up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border on July 21, 2014.

Gov. Rick Perry’s office said on Tuesday that because of the surge of illegal immigration on the southern border, a planned binational border governors conference will be scaled back to only a dinner with the elected officials.

Mayor Confident City Will Be Reimbursed for Relief Costs

On June 24, 2014, volunteers gather at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, where the Rio Grande Valley Catholic Charities have a makeshift shelter to help handle the surge of immigrants who have crossed into the U.S. in recent weeks.
On June 24, 2014, volunteers gather at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, where the Rio Grande Valley Catholic Charities have a makeshift shelter to help handle the surge of immigrants who have crossed into the U.S. in recent weeks.

Humanitarian relief efforts in McAllen will cost local governments more than $1.1 million by the end of the year, officials said on Thursday. Law enforcement officials also praised the state security surge that began last month.