Richard Gonzales

Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.

Gonzales joined NPR in May 1986. He covered the U.S. State Department during the Iran-Contra Affair and the fall of apartheid in South Africa. Four years later, he assumed the post of White House Correspondent and reported on the prelude to the Gulf War and President George W. Bush's unsuccessful re-election bid. Gonzales covered the U.S. Congress for NPR from 1993-94, focusing on NAFTA and immigration and welfare reform.

In September 1995, Gonzales moved to his current position after spending a year as a John S. Knight Fellow Journalism at Stanford University.

In 2009, Gonzales won the Broadcast Journalism Award from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. He also received the PASS Award in 2004 and 2005 from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency for reports on California's juvenile and adult criminal justice systems.

Prior to NPR, Gonzales was a freelance producer at public television station KQED in San Francisco. From 1979 to 1985, he held positions as a reporter, producer, and later, public affairs director at KPFA, a radio station in Berkeley, CA.

Gonzales graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor's degree in psychology and social relations. He is a co-founder of Familias Unidas, a bi-lingual social services program in his hometown of Richmond, California.

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Around the Nation
5:07 am
Wed July 1, 2015

A Father In California, Kids In El Salvador, And New Hope To Reunite

Marta Elsie Leveron, 19, (left) and her brother Freddy David Leveron, 18, have not seen their father since he left El Savador to work in California in 1999. A new U.S. program allows families to reunite if one parent is a legal U.S. resident. The girl in the middle is Liliana Beatriz Leveron, 16, a cousin of the other two. Her parents are in the U.S. and she's seeking to reunite with them as well.
Carrie Kahn NPR

Originally published on Wed July 1, 2015 11:00 am

Editor's Note: Unaccompanied minors surged across the U.S. southern border last year. In response, the Obama administration has introduced a program that would allow families to reunite. In this story about the divided Leveron family, NPR's Richard Gonzales reports first from California, followed by Carrie Kahn in El Salvador.

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The Two-Way
8:03 pm
Tue June 30, 2015

Border Patrol Urged To Crack Down On Corruption In Its Own Ranks

U.S. agents compare notes as they patrol along the Mexico border near McAllen, Texas. A draft report by outside experts calls for steps to confront any claims of corruption in the Border Patrol.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Tue June 30, 2015 9:17 pm

A new government report recommends that the U.S. Border Patrol double its internal affairs investigators to focus on corruption and the alleged mistreatment of migrants along the Mexican border.

The interim report, written at the request of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, focuses on three themes: rooting out corruption within the agency; reining in the unauthorized use of force by Border Patrol agents; and improving departmental transparency.

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It's All Politics
5:57 pm
Fri June 12, 2015

Obama Immigrant Detention Policies Under Fire

Detained immigrant children line up in the cafeteria at the Karnes County Residential Center, a temporary home for immigrant women and children detained at the border.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Tue June 16, 2015 5:40 pm

The Obama administration is under growing pressure to change its policies governing the detention of thousands of migrants who came to the United States illegally.

Maybe it is a coincidence, but consider what has happened this past week:

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Book News & Features
3:47 am
Thu June 11, 2015

At 96, Poet And Beat Publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti Isn't Done Yet

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, pictured here in 2004, was the principal publisher of the writers and poets known as the Beat Generation.
Gezett ullstein bild via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 11, 2015 3:36 pm

Lawrence Ferlinghetti lives in a modest second-story walk-up in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood. Hanging on his walls are his doctorate from the Sorbonne, an unframed Paul Gaugin print and posters of celebrated poetry readings dating back to the days when he personified a hip, literate and rebellious San Francisco. Not that he's nostalgic.

"Everything was better than it is when you're old," he says.

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The Two-Way
3:32 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

Supreme Court Rejects NRA Challenge To San Francisco Gun Rules

Originally published on Mon June 8, 2015 4:01 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to block two San Francisco gun control measures that were fiercely opposed by the National Rifle Association. At least one veteran court observer says the high court's decision raises questions about how the justices interpret the Second Amendment.

First, the basics: A 2007 San Francisco ordinance requires residents to keep handguns under lock and key or to use trigger locks when they are not carrying their weapons. Another law, dating to 1994, bans the sale of ammunition that expands on impact, or hollow-point bullets.

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Law
5:18 am
Tue May 26, 2015

U.S. Citizen Stranded In Yemen Sues State Department

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 3:47 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Law
5:14 am
Mon May 11, 2015

U.S. Judge To Rule On Asylum Challenge Involving Families From Central America

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 8:27 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Law
4:34 pm
Fri May 8, 2015

San Francisco Police Texting Scandal Could Compromise Thousands Of Cases

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 10:38 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Race
2:48 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

China, India Surpass Mexico As Leading Sources Of New Immigrants To U.S.

Children attend their oath of U.S. citizenship ceremony at the Birmingham Public Library in Alabama onAug. 14, 2014.
Tamika Moore AL.com/Landov

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 3:18 pm

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate a change in the flow of immigrants arriving in the U.S. from around the world and offer a look at what the nation will look like in the future.

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U.S.
3:38 am
Fri May 1, 2015

California Bill Could Limit Police Access To Body Camera Footage

Oakland police officers, wearing body cameras, form a line during demonstrations against recent incidents of alleged police brutality nationwide.
Elijah Nouvelage Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 12:46 pm

The unrest in Baltimore and other cities regarding alleged police misconduct has prompted new calls for law enforcement officers to wear body cameras. Such recordings could provide accountability and transparency in potentially controversial circumstances.

At least, that's the idea.

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The Two-Way
8:48 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

A Ticking Clock Threatens Obama's Immigration Plan

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 1:07 pm

A federal appeals court in New Orleans heard oral arguments in a case that could determine the viability of President Obama's plan to temporarily shield more than 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation and issue them work permits.

At stake is whether the president will get to implement his plan before his term expires.

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The Salt
3:51 am
Thu April 16, 2015

How Almonds Became A Scapegoat For California's Drought

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 12:17 pm

You may have heard by now that it takes one gallon of water to produce just one almond. And those are considered fighting words in drought-stricken California, which produces 80 percent of the world's supply of the tasty and nutritious nut.

So when almond grower Daniel Bays hears that, he just shakes his head.

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Law
6:21 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

Immigrant-Rights Activists In Seattle Claim Victory In Child Deportation Case

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 7:45 pm

A federal judge in Seattle has given immigrant advocates a victory. He is allowing a challenge to move forward dealing with the Obama Administration's effort to fast-track deportation hearings for immigrant children.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Around the Nation
4:37 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Amid Drought, Central Valley Residents Face Rising Water Prices

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 7:27 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Around the Nation
5:22 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

California Plastic Bag Referendum Could Spark Environmental Showdown

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 12:40 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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It's All Politics
11:50 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Calif. Lawyer Proposes Ballot Initiative To Kill Gays And Lesbians

Rainbow flags fly in front of San Francisco City Hall in 2013 after the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California.
Noah Berger AP

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 12:35 pm

California's system of direct democracy — the voter initiative process — has produced landmark laws reducing property taxes, banning affirmative action and legalizing medical marijuana.

Now there's a bid to declare that "the people of California wisely command" that gays and lesbians can be killed.

You read that right.

The "Sodomite Suppression Act," as proposed, calls sodomy "a monstrous evil" that should be punishable "by bullets to the head or any other convenient method."

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Business
5:02 am
Thu March 19, 2015

Blue Shield Of California Loses Its Tax-Exempt Status

Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 6:03 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
7:38 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

More San Francisco Police Officers Accused Of Sending Racist Texts

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 8:02 pm

In a rapidly unfolding scandal, San Francisco law enforcement officials are pledging to review the case work of four city police officers who are accused of sending a series of racist and homophobic text messages.

A published report says the San Francisco Police Department is also investigating at least 10 other officers in connection with the sharing of offensive text messages.

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Race
5:26 am
Tue March 17, 2015

A Chinese Immigrant Gets His California Law License, 125 Years Later

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 7:56 pm

The state Supreme Court in California has posthumously admitted a Chinese immigrant to the state bar, 125 years after his application was denied. The law license application was rejected back in 1890.

Hong Yen Chang was sent to United States from China in 1872 to be groomed as a diplomat, a bridge between East and West. His training took him through Andover, Yale and Columbia Law School.

"So he really was about as integrated as one can be in the establishment at the time," says Gabriel Chin, a professor at the University of California at Davis School of Law.

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U.S.
4:21 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Immigration Courts 'Operating In Crisis Mode,' Judges Say

People in Miami protest the Texas district judge who on Tuesday temporarily blocked the implementation of President Obama's executive actions on immigration.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 1:54 pm

As Congress debates the fate of President Obama's immigration policies, the nation's immigration court system is bogged down in delays exacerbated by the flood of unaccompanied minors who crossed the southern border last summer.

The administration made it a priority for those cases to be heard immediately. As a result, hundreds of thousands of other cases have been delayed until as late as 2019.

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