Ted Robbins

As an NPR correspondent based in Tucson, Arizona, Ted Robbins covers the Southwest including Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.

Specifically, Robbins reports on a range of issues from immigration and border security to water issues and wildfires. He covers the economy in the West with an emphasis on the housing market and Las Vegas development. He reported on the January 2011, Tucson shooting that killed six and injured many included Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

From Tombstone to Santa Fe, Phoenix to Las Vegas and Moab to Indian Country, there's no shortage of people, politics and places worth covering in the growing American Southwest. Robbins' reporting is driven by his curiosity to find, understand and communicate all sides of each story through accurate, clear and engaging coverage. In addition to his domestic work, Robbins has reported internationally in Mexico, El Salvador, Nepal and Sudan.

Robbins' reporting has been honored with numerous accolades, including two Emmy Awards: one for his story on sex education in schools, and another for his series on women in the workforce. He received a CINE Golden Eagle for a 1995 documentary on Mexican agriculture called "Tomatoes for the North."

In 2006, Robbins wrote an article for the Neiman Reports at Harvard about journalism and immigration. He was chosen for a 2009 French-American Foundation Fellowship focused on comparing European and U.S. immigration issues.

Raised in Los Angeles, Robbins became an avid NPR listener while spending hours driving (or stopped in traffic) on congested freeways. He is delighted to now be covering stories for his favorite news source.

Prior to coming to NPR in 2004, Robbins spent five years as a regular contributor to The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, 15 years at the PBS affiliate in Tucson, and worked as a field producer for CBS News. He worked for NBC affiliates in Tucson and Salt Lake City, where he also did some radio reporting and print reporting for USA Today.

Robbins earned his Bachelor of Arts in psychology and his master's degree in journalism, both from the University of California at Berkeley. He taught journalism at the University of Arizona for a decade.

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U.S.
3:05 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Little-Known Immigration Mandate Keeps Detention Beds Full

The federal immigration detention center in Florence, Ariz., is one of about 250 such facilities around the country. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is required to house 34,000 immigration detainees per day, nationwide.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 5:04 pm

Imagine your city council telling the police department how many people it had to keep in jail each night.

That's effectively what Congress has told U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement with a policy known as the "detention bed mandate." The mandate calls for filling 34,000 beds in some 250 facilities across the country, per day, with immigrant detainees.

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Around the Nation
4:59 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Shooting At Nev. Middle School Leaves Two Dead, Two Wounded

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 10:10 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

There's news today of another school shooting. This one in Nevada, at Sparks Middle School near Reno. Two people are dead - a teacher and a student who's believed to be the gunman. Two other students were injured and are in the hospital. NPR's Ted Robbins has more.

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Around the Nation
4:03 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Saguaro National Park Welcomes Return Of Visitors

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 12:23 pm

Transcript

TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: I'm Ted Robbins, in Tucson, with a reminder this was a partial government shutdown. I'm at sector headquarters for the Border Patrol. Today - and for the last two weeks, pretty much - cars and SUVs with agents have been going in and out of the parking lot here. So have buses carrying people apprehended in the desert, along with people who are being deported back to Mexico.

JUANITA MOLINA: Border Patrol as a policing force, here in southern Arizona, is a constant.

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Business
2:36 am
Tue October 15, 2013

JPMorgan To Front Customers If Federal Shutdown Drags On

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on June 19, 2012 in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 4:50 am

JPMorgan Chase says it will cover Social Security and Welfare payments for its customers if the government goes into default or the shutdown continues.

If nothing else, it's good public relations for a company which hasn't had much lately.

The bank spent nearly 40 percent of the company's revenue over the last quarter — more than $9 billion — on legal expenses. Money paid to fight government investigations and on fines.

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Business
5:19 pm
Sun October 13, 2013

Shortage Of Workers Hampers Chili Harvest In New Mexico

Originally published on Sun October 13, 2013 6:12 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

Let's talk chili peppers. It's harvest time in New Mexico where the iconic crop has been grown for centuries. New Mexico still produces more chili peppers than any other American state. But production in the U.S. is a fraction of what's produced in India and China, countries with large pools of labor.

NPR's Ted Robbins reports that farmers in New Mexico could increase their harvest if they had the people to do it.

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The Salt
7:18 am
Sun October 6, 2013

That Smoky Smell Means Chile Roasting Season In New Mexico

Fresh picked green chiles are bound for stews, burritos, enchiladas, pozole and more. Fall is chili roasting season in New Mexico.
Tim Robbins NPR

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 1:39 pm

It's chile season in New Mexico, where they take their chiles pretty seriously.

Indeed, the chile is the official state vegetable, so it's probably best to not mention it is actually a fruit. No matter what it is, the fall harvest is on, and that means it's time to fire up the grills.

Green chiles roasting over a hot gas flame give off a smoky, sweet, pungent perfume.

That smell is part of what has drawn customers like Lorenzo and Peggy Lucero to the Diaz farm in Deming, in southwest New Mexico, for the past 30 years.

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NPR Story
7:58 am
Sun September 29, 2013

Report Notes Poor Communication In Deaths Of Arizona Hotshots

Originally published on Sun September 29, 2013 11:22 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Poor communication contributed to the deaths of 19 elite firefighters in Arizona this past June. That's just one of the findings of a long-awaited report on the Yarnell Hill Fire that was released yesterday. It was the deadliest U.S. wildfire in 80 years. The report lays out in detail what happened that day but it does not address why it happened or who was responsible. NPR's Ted Robbins was in Prescott, Arizona and he brings us the story.

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NPR Story
4:51 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Drought Forces New Mexico Ranchers to Better Manage the Land

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 7:19 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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Around the Nation
5:31 am
Fri September 20, 2013

After Shooting Tragedies, States React With Legislation

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 6:10 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Each recent mass shooting in this country has provoked an outpouring of sorrow - and cash: Sandy Hook Promise, the Aurora Victim Relief Fund, now the Navy Yard Relief Fund. What the shootings has not produced is a consensus about how to prevent future tragedies. Congress has been unable to pass gun safety laws for almost two decades.

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Around the Nation
5:08 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Is Operation Streamline Worth Its Budget Being Tripled?

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 6:58 am

The Senate immigration bill calls for tripling a controversial federal court program called Operation Streamline. The program takes people caught crossing the border illegally, gives them prison sentences, then deports them. It's hugely expensive — but does it work?

Around the Nation
4:46 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Las Vegas Gambles On Unique Business Incubator

Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 11:12 am

The Downtown Container Park will set up budding entrepreneurs in repurposed shipping containers. The park will have 35 containers and a bunch of modular cubes like you'd normally see at a construction site — all to house local businesses.

Law
5:31 am
Sat August 24, 2013

Cutting Public Defenders Can Cost Federal Government More

Courts in Tucson, Ariz., are turning to private lawyers to represent clients who would have had public defenders.
Chris Morrison AP

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 1:32 pm

These days, the Federal Public Defender's Office in Tucson, Ariz., has lots of space. Since the federal budget cuts known as sequestration began, the office has lost a quarter of its staff to layoffs or furloughs.

Under the Constitution, clients still need legal representation, so judges have to appoint private attorneys to replace the public defenders.

The sequester was supposed to save money. But in this case, the sequester is costing federal dollars.

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NPR Story
5:27 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Drought Forces Restrictions On Colorado River Water Releases

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 5:58 am

Relentless drought will force the government to cut back on water releases between Glen Canyon and Lake Mead. It's the first time that's happened since dams were built on the Colorado River. Reduction starts next year, and the announcement gives the 40 million water users in the Southwest time to plan.

Art & Design
5:07 am
Sun August 11, 2013

These Dioramas Are To Die For

This "Die-O-Rama" features a picnic lunch of body parts.
Marty Walsh Courtesy of Trifecta Gallery

Originally published on Wed August 14, 2013 2:09 pm

If you like mysteries, thrillers or zombie flicks, you'll probably like Abigail Goldman's art.

Goldman takes the fake grass, dirt and tiny plastic people used in model railroad layouts, and turns them into imaginary crime scenes. She's been making the macabre art for four years, and it's become so popular there's a waiting list for her work.

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Around the Nation
5:20 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

'Dream 9' Win Small Victory In Fight To Stay In U.S.

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 6:56 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

A group of young people, known as the Dream 9, won a small victory yesterday in their fight to remain in the U.S. legally. They were released from a federal detention center in Arizona. All nine grew up in the U.S. but returned to their native Mexico, then publically tried to cross back into this country last month.

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National Security
5:05 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano To Resign

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 6:19 pm

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is stepping down to take charge of the University of California system.

Around the Nation
6:05 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Extra Border-Security Spending Entices GOP, Raises Eyebrows

The immigration bill currently moving through the Senate would nearly double the number of Border Patrol agents.
Eric Thayer Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 8:30 pm

A huge increase in border security spending was the key to getting Republicans onboard with the immigration bill now making its way through the Senate. The bill is set to pass by the end of this week.

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Shots - Health News
5:33 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

In Arizona, An Unlikely Ally For Medicaid Expansion

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, points during an intense conversation with President Obama after he arrived at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Ariz. She has since made light of the incident in trying to rally support for a Medicaid expansion in the state.
Haraz N. Ghanbari AP

Originally published on Wed June 12, 2013 6:20 pm

The Arizona Legislature is debating whether to extend Medicaid to about 300,000 people in the state. The expansion is a requirement to get federal funding under the Affordable Care Act.

The big surprise is who has been leading the charge: Republican Gov. Jan Brewer. She's one of President Obama's staunchest critics and has confounded conservatives in her own party by supporting the expansion.

Google the words "Brewer" and "Obama." You'll get a now-famous image of Brewer wagging her finger at the president on the tarmac last year when she met him in Phoenix.

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U.S.
5:16 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Border Drones Fly Into Fight Over Immigration

A Predator drone operated by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine taxis for a flight over southern Arizona near the Mexican border on March 7 from Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, Ariz.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 6:21 pm

The runways at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., are busy. This is where the Army tests its military drones, where it trains its drone pilots, and where four Customs and Border Protection drones take off and land.

From here, the CBP drones survey the Arizona-Mexico border — mainly looking for immigrants and drug smugglers.

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NPR Story
5:39 am
Sun May 26, 2013

Tornado Upends Okla. Doctor's Practice With Patients In Need

Originally published on Sun May 26, 2013 7:13 am

Dr. Keith Layne's practice was destroyed in the tornado that hit Moore, Okla. Now the family practice doctor is scrambling to treat patients while worrying about their mental and physical health.

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