John Burnett | KUNR

John Burnett

The bulldozers, excavators, concrete trucks and water haulers are parked. The construction crews are gone. And hundreds of 30-foot-tall steel panels are stacked up and down the U.S.-Mexico border.

As promised, President Biden has halted construction of the massive wall — former President Donald Trump's signature project. The new administration has called for a two-month suspension while border security officials sort out what to do next.

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President Biden is promising kinder, more welcoming immigration policies — and raising hopes for asylum-seekers throughout the hemisphere.

Earlier this week, Guatemalan police beat back a caravan of thousands of Hondurans who were beginning the long trek to the United States border. Moreover, conditions driving people from their home countries — crime, violent spouses, joblessness and hurricane destruction — are not going away.

And this is what makes Texas border mayors nervous.

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While the taco long ago conquered America, some aficionados believe this ancient, handheld food reaches its pinnacle in the Texas-Mexico borderlands.

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In Nashville, authorities have now determined the identity of the Christmas morning bomber. On Sunday afternoon, investigators gathered just a few blocks from the blast zone to announce a breakthrough.

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Investigators in Nashville are combing the site of a Christmas morning explosion. Authorities say it was caused by an RV filled with explosives, which issued a 15-minute warning before it blew up.

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The latest on the Christmas Day explosion in downtown Nashville.

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In the Coronado National Memorial — where conquistador Francisco Vázquez de Coronado entered what is now Arizona — contractors are pulverizing the wilderness in a rush to put up as many miles of border wall as possible before the Trump administration vacates Washington.

They're dynamiting mountainsides and bulldozing pristine desert for a barrier the incoming Biden administration is expected to cancel.

Musicians — who depend on live audiences as much as they do — have been especially hard hit by the pandemic. Perhaps nowhere has this been felt more acutely than in South Louisiana, where music lies at the heart of Cajun culture.

They still gather on Saturday mornings at Marc Savoy's music store in the town of Eunice amid the rice fields and crawfish farms in what's called Cajun prairie country. Musicians pull chairs into a circle — outside now because of the virus — to play the Acadian French ballads they learned from their grandparents.

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the Trump administration to stop deporting minor immigrants on the grounds that they are a coronavirus threat. The government has already expelled nearly 9,000 children who crossed the border alone, seeking protection, citing a public health order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Work crews are dynamiting mountains and bulldozing access roads in the badlands of southeastern Arizona, while government lawyers have acquired a beloved birding preserve along the Rio Grande in South Texas — all to make way for a border wall that may never get built.

The completion of President's Trump's signature wall on the U.S.-Mexico border is very much in doubt. Before winning the presidential election, Joe Biden flatly told NPR: "There will not be another foot of wall constructed in my administration."

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Among those anxiously watching the U.S. presidential election is a Guatemalan mother and her teenaged son who have taken refuge in a church in Austin, Texas, for the entirety of Donald Trump's presidency.

Hilda and Iván Ramirez are ensconced in the Sunday school wing of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, which has given them sanctuary from deportation for more than four and a half years.

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When Tommy Fisher decided he wanted to build his own private border wall in Texas, he said he wanted to keep out trouble from Mexico.

Now that wall has created its own set of troubles on the U.S. side of the border: Engineers warn the structure will wash away in a flood, neighbors want it dismantled, and Fisher is embroiled in lawsuits.

Nonetheless, Fisher and his North Dakota construction company have landed more than $2 billion in contracts to build President Trump's official wall.

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The 10th hurricane of this season is Hurricane Delta. In this era of climate change, the storm is arriving in southwestern Louisiana, which Hurricane Laura hit just six weeks ago. NPR's John Burnett is watching from Lafayette, La. John, good morning.

About 60 Confederate monuments have come down across the U.S. amid a national reckoning on race — but nearly half as many localities that considered removing their statues have decided to keep them.

Since George Floyd's death in May that sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice, there have been votes or decisions to protect 28 monuments, according to an NPR count.

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