A life-and-death struggle for asylum in America

By Susan Ferriss and Amy Isackson

Teens' tortured road to asylum in America.

Excerpts from this story referencing "United States":

"… om violence so chilling her family thought it better to smuggle her to the United States in the spring of 2013. “Two years ago a friend of mine died in a very c …"

"… whatever they need to say to get to stay here because the President of the United States has told them, in no uncertain terms: If they get here, he won’t enforce …"

"… illed him. She also said she was threatened for testifying and fled to the United States. Her case had previously reached the Board of Immigration Appeals, the BI …"

"… , fearing his son would be killed, arranged to have him smuggled up to the United States. The asylum officer asked Francisco details about various parts of his st …"

Prison bankers cash in on captive customers

By Daniel Wagner

Private company profits by helping prisons squeeze inmates' families for cash.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Federal Trade Commission":

"… ests to discuss specific issues related to prison financial services. The Federal Trade Commission, which has consumer-protection authority and the power to ensure that mark …"

Afghans don’t like soybeans, despite a big U.S. push

By Alexander Cohen and James Arkin

Washington ignored warnings that Afghans were unlikely to embrace protein-rich soy products.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Maryland":

"… he independent evaluation, conducted by EnCompass LLC, based in Rockville, Maryland, said that while thousands of farmers received training and planted soybea …"

Federal complaint challenges Texas town's new ban on housing any border kids

By Susan Ferriss

Civil rights groups are challenging ordinances that prohibit cooperation with federal officials if they ask to shelter kids in towns.

Excerpts from this story referencing "El Salvador":

"… en’s Fund reports that 93 percent of children in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are vaccinated against measles, compared to 92 percent of American kids. …"

Trains, amputations and the roots of why kids are on the run

By Susan Ferriss

Reports have long warned of chaos in Central America many minors say they want to escape.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… Since I reported those stories, the grip that organized crime has on Central American countries has tightened further. Justice systems remain notoriously incap …"

"… . Here is some illuminating information about deteriorating conditions in Central America, long in the making, and the U.S. debate over how to deal with the influx …"

"… rs. Changes to the law could give Border Patrol agents a role in screening Central American children shortly after they're detained and then deporting them …"

"… perilous conditions in Mexico. For years, researchers who study Central America have warned that organized crime was gaining strength. A Congressional Re …"

Class-action suit: Wrong to put kids into immigration court with no lawyers to help

By Susan Ferriss

Kids whose dad was killed by gangsters are among the plaintiffs in a suit arguing that children should have lawyers in immigration court.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… nd some with mothers.  Some of the spending would be for projects in Central America and for border enforcement and anti-smuggling actions, and some would be u …"

"… contacts are really stretched,” Ekblad said. He blames years of war in Central America—and U.S. involvement in those wars—for leaving the region destabilized …"

"… of organized crime.    He said the kids he knows who have fled Central America—where Ekblad lived between 1981 and 1988—“don’t stand a chanc …"

Herbicide ban on hold in Sri Lanka, as source of deadly kidney disease remains elusive

By Sasha Chavkin

After Sri Lanka's announced ban on a Monsanto herbicide, opponents challenged the action and convinced the president to put the ban on hold.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… ned a rare form of kidney disease devastating agricultural workers in Central America, Sri Lanka and India. Scientists suspect the malady is caused by a combina …"

Sri Lanka bans Monsanto herbicide citing potential link to deadly kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

Sri Lanka orders ban on glyphosate, an active ingredient in Roundup, citing kidney disease outbreak; Monsanto said the evidence is unproven.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… idney disease that has killed tens of thousands of agricultural workers in Central America, Sri Lanka and India. The malady is suspected by scientists to be caused b …"

"… Dr. Catharina Wesseling of the Program on Work, Environment and Health in Central America (SALTRA). "However, although beneficial for worker's health, we should not …"

"… worker's health, we should not expect that this will solve the epidemic in Central America." Jayasumana’s article contends that glyphosate, which forms powerful c …"

CDC launches industry-financed studies of deadly kidney disease in Central America

By Sasha Chavkin

The CDC launches industry-funded research into a kidney disease killing thousands of Central American agricultural workers.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… Launching its deepest review yet into a mysterious kidney disease striking Central America, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is organizing three s …"

"… rs. The research will be funded by $1.7 million in contributions from the Central American sugar industry — a setup raising concerns with some about how fully the …"

"… ic kidney disease, CKD, is afflicting agricultural workers along Central America’s Pacific Coast, as well as in Sri Lanka and India. A recent study& …"

"… tudy estimated that the ailment has killed more than 20,000 people in Central America alone. Most scientists suspect the disease is caused by a combination of …"

Money, research target mystery kidney disease in Americas

By Sasha Chavkin

Escalating a search for the cause of a mysterious kidney disease, health ministers from the Americas target money and research to CKD.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Americas":

"… g agricultural laborers by the thousands, health ministers from across the Americas passed a resolution last week formally recognizing the disease as a seriou …"

Countries target pesticides as suspected link to rare kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

Governments from El Salvador to Sri Lanka explore the role of pesticides in a malady killing laborers, as other scientists eye heat stress.

Excerpts from this story referencing "chronic kidney disease":

"… al Consortium of Investigative Journalists has examined how a rare type of chronic kidney disease, CKD, is afflicting agricultural workers along Central America’s Pa …"

World Bank approves loan to sugar plantation amid concerns about kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

World Bank approved $15M loan to Nicaraguan sugar plantation, even as industry is ravaged by disease.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… ueling labor in the fields. …"

"… ic kidney disease (CKD) is killing thousands of agricultural workers along Central America’s Pacific Coast, as well as in Sri Lanka and India. Scientists have yet …"

"… the controversy emerged, the World Bank has approved a new loan to another Central American sugar plantation within the affected region. In its environmental and soc …"

"… sures are most likely to be playing a role.” The declaration adopted by Central America’s Council of Health Ministers in April sounded a similar note. The agree …"

Center kidney disease series honored by Society of Environmental Journalists

A CPI examination of a rare kidney disease that has afflicted laborers and vexed researchers across continents is honored.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… ey disease afflicting primarily male farm workers in India, Sri Lanka, and Central America,” judges wrote. “This work is also notable for doing an excellent job …"

New urgency targets mysterious kidney disease in Central America

By Sasha Chavkin

In El Salvador, health ministries formally recognize a kidney disease killing laborers — and vow deeper scrutiny of its causes.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Americas":

"… back an effort by El Salvador to declare the malady a top priority for the Americas. The CDC now says it has devoted “several hundred thousand” dollars to …"

Federal initiative to help schools recognize youth sex trafficking

By Susan Ferriss

Students can be exploited more if they are suspended or expelled for misbehavior and left unsupervised alone.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… gangs, Hill said, is MS-13, the transnational crime group with networks in Central America and the United States. Hill said gangs have started putting tattoos on gi …"

In Sri Lanka, new steps target mysterious kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

In Sri Lanka, the president vows controls on chemicals potentially linked to chronic kidney disease, as hospitals take steps for patients.

Excerpts from this story referencing "chronic kidney disease":

"… id growing concern the chemicals are helping fuel a mysterious epidemic of chronic kidney disease devastating its north central region.In September, in Mystery in the Field …"

"… in the Fields, the Center for Public Integrity explored how a rare form of chronic kidney disease is killing agricultural workers in Sri Lanka, India and Central America. S …"

"… re “causative factors” for the ailment – which they have named CKDu, chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology. Despite prior warnings from the WHO to reduce farmers …"

Separated by law: Families torn apart by 1996 immigration measure

By Susan Ferriss and Amy Isackson

Immigration measure has split husbands from wives, children from parents.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… 005, and all seemed well. But shortly thereafter a deadly hurricane struck Central America and southern Mexico, and Jorge lost all contact with his parents. He told …"

In India, verdant terrain conceals clues to a fatal kidney disease

By Sasha Chavkin

How a rare kidney disease is killing laborers and vexing researchers in three countries.

Excerpts from this story referencing "chronic kidney disease":

"… s strain of illness tormenting the area. For more than a decade, a rash of chronic kidney disease has been striking down the villagers of this remote agricultural belt in t …"

As kidney disease kills thousands across continents, scientists scramble for answers

By Sasha Chavkin

How a rare kidney disease is killing laborers and vexing researchers in three countries.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… sands of people in rural, agricultural communities in Sri Lanka, India and Central America. The struggle to identify its causes is baffling researchers across multip …"

"… l reaches tens of thousands.More than 16,000 men died of kidney failure in Central America from 2005 to 2009, with annual deaths increasing more than threefold since …"

"… ling, the regional director for the Program on Work and Health (SALTRA) in Central America, which pioneered the initial studies of the region’s unsolved outbreak. …"

"… its exist, with different causes in each region?From Sri Lanka to India to Central America, all the victims know is that something in their lush, hauntingly beautifu …"

About the 'Mystery in the Fields' project

By Ronnie Greene

About the Project: Mystery in the Fields

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… illing laborers and crippling communities in three different regions, from Central America to Sri Lanka to India. As death tolls mount, researchers remain puzzled, u …"

"… kin exposed how chronic kidney disease was so prevalent in some regions of Central America it left communities filled with widows and scientists searching for answer …"

Support our new investigation into a deadly disease killing agricultural workers

By Ellen Weiss

Support our investigation of a disease that is killing workers around the world.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Costa Rica":

"… he Island of the Widows. That first story about the epidemic prompted the Costa Rican government to launch a study and a leading Costa Rica plantation to annou …"

"… idemic prompted the Costa Rican government to launch a study and a leading Costa Rica plantation to announce an overhaul of its worker safety practices. Photogr …"

Costa Rica to study kidney disease afflicting sugarcane workers

By Sasha Chavkin

In Costa Rica, health officials and one company step up against a disease that's claimed thousands of lives in Central America

Excerpts from this story referencing "Americas":

"… d Health Organization and United Nations to battle chronic diseases in the Americas. Even as those nations press for answers, and Costa Rica launches a study, …"

The weekly watchdog: Dec. 12 - Dec. 16

By Bill Buzenberg

In case you missed them, catch up on this week's top investigations from iWatch News

Excerpts from this story referencing "Costa Rica":

"… ly manual laborers in harsh sugarcane fields of El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. As the death toll rises, those in a position to fight the disease — the …"

Thousands of sugar cane workers die as wealthy nations stall on solutions

By Sasha Chavkin and Ronnie Greene

Mysterious kidney disease has killed thousands of men in an isolated region of Central America, but why?

Excerpts from this story referencing "chronic kidney disease":

"… plight of those who harvest it. Little noticed by the rest of the world, chronic kidney disease (CKD) is cutting a swath through one of the world’s poorest populations, …"

"… Deadly enigma and a handful of researchers In the U.S., leading causes of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and hypertension. But the ailment — leading to a progressiv …"

"… would one day be internationally recognized. “It is important that the chronic kidney disease afflicting thousands of rural workers in Central America be recognized as …"

"… ed men coming into his hospital in El Salvador, all with advanced cases of chronic kidney disease. “For some reason, to the rest of the world this seemed normal,” he re …"

About this project

A look at the reporting process behind 'Island of the Widows'

Excerpts from this story referencing "Costa Rica":

"… n working in the Pacific Coast sugarcane fields of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and neighboring countries have been dying of chronic kidney disease, an ai …"

"… ICIJ members Carlos Fernando Chamorro in Nicaragua and Giannia Segnini in Costa Rica also contributed reporting to this project.Questions? Comments? Let us kno …"

"… orld Service (radio)Univision (television)El Nuevo Herald, MiamiLa Nacion, Costa RicaEl Faro, El SalvadorSemana, NicaraguaHoy, ChicagoAl Dia, DallasLa Opinion, …"

Methodology

A note of the data and analysis for 'Island of the Widows'

Excerpts from this story referencing "Costa Rica":

"… nd observations indicated the ailment was present: Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Guatemala. Studies have indicated the disease is spreading in Honduras …"

Hotter, drier, meaner: Trends point to a planet increasingly hostile to agriculture

By Douglas Fischer

A host of data point to one conclusion: Our increasingly hotter, drier planet is going to be a tough place to farm

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… es both rose.Meanwhile, researchers probing the climate in pre–Colombian Central America figure that widespread deforestation had a hand in the droughts thought to …"

"… izations.More than 1,000 years ago, "significant deforestation" throughout Central America suppressed rainfall upwards of 20 percent and warmed the region 0.5ºC, sa …"

Cartels carve new drug routes in Central America

By Nick Miroff

In a Belizean town known for its trade in contraband, illicit drugs cast a new shadow

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… , Belize — I met Bobby on my last night in Belize, the night before this Central American nation celebrated its 30th anniversary of independence.I was standing out …"

"… try. Mexico’s powerful drug cartels have recently muscled their way into Central America, looking to open new smuggling routes for the multi-billion-dollar cocaine …"

"… vernment had pledged more than $200 million in new security assistance for Central America. But politicians in the region want more, saying sovereignty and stability …"

"… in fast boats, traffickers can dodge Mexico’s army and navy patrols. As Central America’s least-populated and least-defended country, the worry was that Belize …"

FACT CHECK: Paul ‘stood with Reagan,’ but not long

By FactCheck.Org

Attempting a jab at Perry's support of Al Gore, Paul highlights his relationship with Reagan, but not the fair-weather part

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… s to Honduras as "unconstitutional," calling the president "a bully boy in Central America" in a March 21, 1988, article by the Associated Press.Paul told  …"

Child advocates say more should be done to assist immigrant minors crossing the border

By Susan Ferriss

Child advocates say assistance needed to keep young border crossers away from criminals

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… ercent of minors overall and unaccompanied were Mexican, and the rest were Central American, Chinese or nationals of other countries. Mexican and U.S. law enforcemen …"

"… ven if, after being caught, they say they want to return home, journeys to Central America or more distant regions usually take longer than 72 hours, or three days, …"

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