Reporter Laura Gómez Rodriguez covers state politics and immigration for the Arizona Mirror. She was named Best Investigative Reporter by Phoenix Magazine in its 2018 newspaper category and has been honored by the Arizona Press Club for education, immigration, political, and public safety reporting and Spanish-language news and feature reporting. Laura worked for The Arizona Republic and La Voz Arizona for four years, covering city government, economic development, immigration, politics and trade. In 2017, Laura traveled the length of the U.S.-Mexico border for “The Wall,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning project produced by The Arizona Republic and USA Today Network. She is a native of Bogotá, Colombia and lived in Puerto Rico and Boston before moving to Phoenix in 2014. Catch her researching travel deals, feasting on mariscos or playing soccer.
NYT: Southwest Key execs “possibly engaged in self-dealing”
By: Laura Gómez - December 3, 2018
The New York Times this weekend profiled Southwest Key founder Juan Sanchez and the organization he’s built. Southwest Key, a nonprofit, is the nation’s largest operator of shelters for immigrant children and has received $1.7 billion in federal contracts over the past decade.
Phoenix area churches have received nearly 5,000 migrant families since October
By: Laura Gómez - November 30, 2018
A church gymnasium in Mesa was the space where more than 100 asylum-seeking men, women and children from Guatemala and Honduras arrived Wednesday evening after spending several days in federal custody.
MCSO: Employee at closed Southwest Key shelter dragged girl by the leg
By: Laura Gómez - November 27, 2018
An allegation of child abuse at a West Valley Southwest Key facility involved an employee who dragged a girl by her leg to her to bed, according to a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office incident report obtained by the Arizona Mirror. The federal government suspended operations at that shelter the day after MCSO responded to the […]
When asylum-seekers are turned away at border, migrants are more vulnerable
By: Laura Gómez - November 27, 2018
A report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General in late September pointed to a likely unintended consequence of turning back asylum-seekers at ports of entry, which is happening now in Tijuana.
Sinema, Yee are firsts; but does Arizona’s legislature look like the state?
By: Laura Gómez - November 21, 2018
Arizona’s legislative body will have firsts as well: Jennifer Longdon, a Democrat from District 24, is the first legislator who uses a wheelchair full-time, and Walter Blackman, from District 6, is the state’s first ever black Republican legislator.
‘Birther’ case against new legislator tossed out of court
By: Laura Gómez - November 14, 2018
A judge ruled Wednesday there’s no legal basis to the claim that representative-elect Raquel Terán is unfit to serve in the Arizona Legislature because she is not a U.S. citizen.
‘An ugly tactic’: Lawsuit questions citizenship of future Latina lawmaker
By: Laura Gómez - November 9, 2018
Alice Novoa, a resident of a small community near Douglas, filed the lawsuit with Maricopa County Superior Court on Nov. 5. Novoa presented no evidence that Raquel Terán is not an American citizen in her lawsuit.
Gallego, Valenzuela will face off in March runoff for Phoenix mayor
By: Laura Gómez - November 7, 2018
Former city councilmembers Kate Gallego and Daniel Valenzuela will face each other in a runoff election for Phoenix mayor after Gallego took a massive lead but fell short of the majority she needed to win outright. A runoff election for the mayor’s race is scheduled for March 12, where voters in districts 5 and 8 […]
Top of the ticket candidates in Arizona make their case in Spanish
By: Laura Gómez - November 5, 2018
When canvassers with Unite Here Local 631 told Maria Aguilar she should vote for Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, the Maryvale homeowner was quiet for a moment while she tried to place the name to a face. “Oh yes, it’s the güerita who’s on, who speaks Spanish,” Aguilar said in Spanish, using the Mexican slang for blonde or light-skinned woman.
More migrant families are showing up on the border
By: Laura Gómez - November 1, 2018
More adults are choosing to migrate with their children to the U.S., data from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol shows. Fiscal year 2018 hit a record in number of family members arrested by Border Patrol at 107,212, the highest figure since at least 2012.
Where McSally, Sinema stand on detention of migrant families
By: Laura Gómez - October 29, 2018
Critics call them baby jails. To U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Executive Associate Director Matthew Albence, they’re more like a summer camp.
Southwest Key to freeze placement of migrant children in AZ shelters, close 2 locations
By: Laura Gómez - October 24, 2018
Southwest Key will stop accepting new migrant minors at all of its child-care facilities in Arizona and will shut down two of its 13 shelters in the state, according to the terms of a settlement reached between the company and the Arizona Department of Health Services.