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 "Texas":

"… and said she was in custody after a harrowing raft ride over the river in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. Maria spent months in a U.S. Department of Health a …"

"… in a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-run shelter in Houston, Texas, after her detention. Then she was transferred to a foster family in Los A …"

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 "Florida":

"… ment of Corrections informed her that JPay Inc., a private company in Florida, would begin handling all deposits into inmates’ accounts. Sending a mo …"

"… t year, when her son was sentenced to 20 days in jail in St. Lucie County, Florida, for reckless driving, Linda wanted to buy him a second pair of underwear …"

"… r, she was instructed to make the money order out to JPay and send it to a Florida post office box. The company would credit it to Eddie’s account. Under …"

"… e fees related to his business. He said he did not know, for example, that Florida now charges its own fee for money order deposits after JPay processes the …"

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 "Washington":

"… t the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a nonprofit group in Washington. The funds allocated to rebuild the country mostly went to “short-term a …"

"… hain.” The association had, moreover, forged close ties to officials in Washington. Its annual conference in Washington, typically held at a hotel on Capito …"

"… r, forged close ties to officials in Washington. Its annual conference in Washington, typically held at a hotel on Capitol Hill and co-hosted with agriculture …"

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 "Texas":

"… shion. …"

"… n American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, and Appleseed, a Texas public-interest law group. Appleseed has researched dangers faced by Mexic …"

"… plaint argues that the ordinance — one of a number being contemplated in Texas — is discriminatory and violates the Fair Housing Act and the Civil Righ …"

"… that international health experts say is factually unfounded, as the Texas Observer reported.   The United Nations Children’s Fund reports tha …"

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 "Law":

"… in favor of young children benefitting from counsel in immigration court. Lawyers said the suit—one of the plaintiffs is originally from Mexico—was …"

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 "Environment":

"… ong agricultural workers, which has not been reported in Brazil. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it is now engaged in a registration review proces …"

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 "epidemic":

"… eficial for worker's health, we should not expect that this will solve the epidemic in Central America." Jayasumana’s article contends that glyphosate, whi …"

"… time problem with our hypothesis,” Jayasumana said, in reference to the epidemic’s unusual geography and its surge in all of the affected regions during …"

"… rantes, the director of El Salvador’s national research program into the epidemic, said his team is working on developing a map of areas with hard water wit …"

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 "Medicine":

"… jective science,” said Dr. Cary Gross, a professor at the Yale School of Medicine and its Program for Biomedical Ethics. The “occupational illness” div …"

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 "worker":

"… otential cause of a mysterious form of kidney disease killing agricultural workers. In El Salvador, the congress approved a ban earlier this month on 53 ag …"

"… how a rare type of chronic kidney disease, CKD, is afflicting agricultural workers along Central America’s Pacific Coast, and in Sri Lanka and India. …"

"… ence points to heat stress and dehydration. One study found that sugarcane workers with more physically strenuous jobs suffered significantly higher levels …"

"… al will,” Wesseling said. As the scientific hunt for answers continues, workers continue to sicken and die. Ezekiel Ramirez, a former sugarcane worker i …"

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 "Janet Napolitano":

"… ars a day. Alice Hill, senior counselor to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, said human trafficking, whether to serve the sex industry or the job mark …"

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 "Central America":

"… nic kidney disease is killing agricultural workers in Sri Lanka, India and Central America. Scientists in each region are struggling to identify the cause of these p …"

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 "Central America":

"… ve much in common with those of the unexplained epidemics in Sri Lanka and Central America. They come from farming communities and are mostly poor. Few suffer from d …"

"… e disease, its geographic and humanitarian scope is more contained than in Central America or Sri Lanka.“Our hypothesis is that an exposure to something in the env …"

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 "Wimal Rajaratna":

"… …"

"… taken hold: Couples decline to marry at all.In Sri Lanka, a Suspect EmergesWimal Rajaratna has worked in the rice paddies since he was 20. He enjoyed good health unt …"

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 "Central America":

"… mostly affects older people with diabetes and high blood pressure. But in Central America, each year thousands of agricultural laborers — almost all men, lacking …"

"… are killing some of the world’s poorest and most marginalized workers in Central America to other parts of the world — across several continents.   Now, we …"

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 "chronic diseases":

"… n initiative by the World Health Organization and United Nations to battle chronic diseases in the Americas. Even as those nations press for answers, and Costa Rica l …"

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 "Central America":

"… CKD — is a manageable illness that primarily affects the elderly. But in Central America the condition is instead devastating whole communities, according to a new …"

About this project

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

Excerpts from this story referencing "Peru":

"… nd private programs. He has also reported abroad from Nigeria, Bolivia and Peru.Ronnie Greene joined the Center after serving as investigations and govern …"


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

Excerpts from this story referencing "Central America":

"… n the region. …"

"… .The data show that this formula clearly reflects the CKD epidemic. Across Central America in 2009, the most recent year available, 87 percent of male deaths from ki …"

"… Also, WHO data show that while kidney disease grew among women in the four Central American countries used for analysis, the rate of growth was smaller among women t …"

"… he U.S. Renal Data System. But even this increase pales compared to men in Central America. In El Salvador and Nicaragua, the countries where data is complete from 1 …"

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 "Americas":

"… low health ministers to include CKD among the top chronic illnesses in the Americas, a step that could attract U.N. funding for studies. Rodriguez’s propos …"

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 "Somalia":

"… e left up to 10 million at risk of famine; social order has broken down in Somalia, with thousands of refugees streaming into Kenya; British Aid alone is fee …"

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 "China":

"… rs, wondering if there weren’t better opportunities in today’s booming China than in this sleepy waterfront town just south of Belize’s border with M …"

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 "Patrick Leahy":

"… rize existing anti-human trafficking laws) was introduced June 29 by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Scott Brown (R-Mass.). It also calls for …"