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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Around the Nation
4:33 am
Mon May 13, 2013

Arizona Police To Destroy Guns Before Law Changes

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 8:41 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Gun owners voluntarily turned in about 900 weapons to Phoenix police over the last couple of weekends. Those guns will be destroyed - this time. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton says the idea of the gun buyback program is to reduce gun violence and improve safety. But under a new Arizona law that takes effect later this year, law enforcement officials will have to put surrendered weapons back on the street. NPR's Ted Robbins explains.

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U.S.
4:35 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Bill Would Put Immigration Verification System To The Test

Employers using the E-Verify program are required to post an E-Verify Participation Poster, shown here in a handout photo. A Senate bill would make participation in the system, used to check employees' immigration status, mandatory for all employers.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 5:27 pm

Some employers around the nation have been using E-Verify to check the immigration status of employees for years. Operated by the Department of Homeland Security, the online system is designed to make it harder to hire unauthorized workers — and harder for those workers to find jobs.

While participation in the program has been voluntary since 1996, the immigration bill now in the Senate would make E-Verify mandatory.

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U.S.
5:23 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

U.S. Aims To Track Foreigners Who Arrive, But Never Leave

A Customs and Border Protection officer explains to arriving international passengers at Los Angeles International Airport how to provide their fingerprints. While visitors are fingerprinted and photographed upon arrival in the U.S., they are currently not tracked upon departure.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 9:02 am

Nearly half the people now in the U.S. illegally didn't climb walls, wade across the Rio Grande or trek through the desert to get here. They arrived legally, with tourist or student visas. And when those visas expired, they just never left.

Like the rest of the 11 million undocumented people in the United States, they are part of the underground economy and the government doesn't know where they are. The Senate immigration bill now before Congress tries to address this problem — though not as richly as it does border security.

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Around the Nation
6:17 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Frustration Mounts Over Unresolved Border Patrol Shootings

An investigator inspects a crime scene where a 16-year-old was shot. At least one U.S. Border Patrol agent shot into Mexico after rocks were thrown at him, hitting the teen.
Reuters/Landov

Reducing illegal immigration — a key requirement for any immigration overhaul — is largely up to the U.S. Border Patrol. That agency has doubled in size over the past decade. It's now the largest law enforcement agency in the country.

Critics say the agency has become overly zealous in its mission and faces little accountability. In the past three years, agents have killed nearly 20 people along the Southwest border — and few of those cases have been resolved.

Rocks Thrown, Shots Fired

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Economy
4:46 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Housing Recovery Offers Little Comfort To Family Whose Home Is Underwater

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 7:55 pm

The steady stream of good news about the recovering housing market isn't without its limits. Thad Salter and his family live in the Phoenix suburb of Maricopa since moving from California in 2006. He's seen his home drop in value by more than half and has been underemployed as an human resources professional since 2008. NPR's Ted Robbins reports that, for the Salters, the housing news isn't as good as reports in the housing industry would suggest.

Sports
4:47 am
Mon March 25, 2013

'Hat Guys' Meet In Vegas To Gamble On NCAA Tourney

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 8:34 am

Thousands of people were expected in Las Vegas for the first weekend of NCAA men's college basketball tournament. It's one of the most lucrative weekends in Las Vegas. Casino officials say it draws more people than the Super Bowl.

The Sequester: Cuts And Consequences
3:02 am
Thu March 7, 2013

With Budget Cuts For Ports, Produce May Perish

Border security agents stop a truck at a checkpoint on the way to Nogales, Ariz. More winter produce enters the U.S. at the border crossing than at any other point of entry in the country.
Qi Heng Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 1:48 pm

Budget-cutting from the government sequester that began March 1 could affect U.S. exports and imports, including what we eat.

Customs and Border Protection officers regulate trade at the nation's 329 ports of entry, in harbors, airports and on land.

One by one, drivers approach booths with Customs and Border Protection officers at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales, Ariz. More winter produce enters here than at any other place in the U.S. Semis filled with tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers headed to grocery stores around the country.

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Sports
5:15 am
Tue March 5, 2013

U.S. Readies For Play In World Baseball Classic

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 5:33 am

With baseball gone from the Olympics, the World Baseball Classic is the only international professional baseball tournament. Former Yankees and Dodgers manager Joe Torre said he put on a uniform again to manage the U.S. team because it's a privilege.

Around the Nation
6:13 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Sequester Cuts Free Some Immigration Detainees

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 7:37 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency has released hundreds of immigration detainees ahead of Friday's sequester deadline. The decision was made to help bring down the agency's budget, in light of the automatic spending cuts. ICE officials are getting both praise and a lot of heat for the unusual move. NPR's Ted Robbins has the story.

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Around the Nation
5:26 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Immigration Officials Release Detainees Ahead Of Budget Cuts

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:05 pm

Audie Cornish talks to Ted Robbins about reaction to the Obama administration's decision to release immigrant detainees. The move was attributed to budget cuts.

It's All Politics
5:51 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

The 'Line' For Legal Immigration Is Already About 4 Million People Long

Newly sworn-in U.S. citizens recite the Pledge of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony in Baltimore in 2012.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 10:26 am

In the back and forth between Congress and the White House over immigration, both sides seem to agree that people now in the U.S. illegally should wait at "the back of the line" for legal residency — meaning no green card until all other immigrants get theirs.

But that presents a problem, because the wait for a green card can take decades.

Maria has been waiting in line with her husband for 16 years and counting for what the government calls a priority date for legal residency. Because she is in the U.S. without documents, Maria asked NPR to use only her first name.

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Remembrances
5:51 am
Tue February 19, 2013

Creator Of Lakers' Dynasties, Owner Jerry Buss Dies

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 9:16 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Jerry Buss died yesterday at the age of 80, a very important guy to sports fans here in Southern California. He transformed the Los Angeles Lakers from a good pro basketball team into a great one. During the 34 years Jerry Buss owned them, the Lakers won more games than any other NBA team and took 10 league titles. He also changed the Lakers into the NBA's glamour team, bringing modern showmanship to the league.

NPR's Ted Robbins has this remembrance.

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Remembrances
4:20 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

Longtime Lakers Owner Jerry Buss Dies At 80

Originally published on Mon February 18, 2013 6:02 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The basketball world lost both a huge fan and one of its most innovative team owners today. Jerry Buss turned the Los Angeles Lakers into the NBA's glamour franchise and won 10 championships. Buss died early this morning at the age of 80. NPR's Ted Robbins has this remembrance.

TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: Jerry Buss once said: I don't just want winners, I want champions. And, boy, did he get them. Yet when Buss was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, he remembered feeling humbled back in 1979 when he bought the Lakers.

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Around the Nation
4:26 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Illegal Immigration Into U.S. Slows At Border Crossings

Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 2:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

President Obama was in Las Vegas today, making the case for one of his key campaign issues.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The time has come for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: The time has come.

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Environment
5:12 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

In Arizona, Some Retirees Caught In Never-Ending Battle With Invasive Species

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 5:23 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

We go now to Arizona, a magnet for retirees, and for some the answer to the question how should I spend my spare time is this: How about swinging a pick axe in the desert? NPR's Ted Robbins sent this postcard from Ironwood Forest National Monument.

TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: This must be Gary Borax's idea of a good time because he keeps coming back.

GARY BORAX: I've probably been out here 30, 40 times over the years and nearly half of those buffel grass-related.

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Business
5:14 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Fla. Tomato Growers Say Mexico Trade Deal Is Rotten

J. Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 11:01 am

Half of all tomatoes eaten in the U.S. come from Mexico, and tomato growers in Florida aren't happy about that. In fact, they're willing to risk a trade war to reverse the trend.

At JC Distributing In Nogales, Ariz., one misstep and you're likely to get knocked over by a pallet full of produce. Forklifts crisscross each other carrying peppers, squash and especially tomatoes from trucks backed into the warehouse loading dock.

"This is a Mexican truck being unloaded," says JC President Jaime Chamberlain. "He's just waiting for his paperwork to get back."

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It's All Politics
6:12 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Race For Arizona's Open Senate Seat Gets Personal

Democrat Richard Carmona (left) and Republican Rep. Jeff Flake shake hands before Thursday's debate in Chandler, Ariz.
Ross Franklin AP

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 7:12 pm

For the first time in nearly a generation, Arizona voters will elect a new senator. Republican Sen. Jon Kyl is retiring after 18 years. His ideological successor is Republican Rep. Jeff Flake, and a lot of people expected Flake to have an easy time of it.

But recent polls suggest Democrat Richard Carmona — a former surgeon general and a Hispanic — has a shot at winning. The race has become heated, and the airwaves are filled with brutal ads.

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Around the Nation
11:07 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Border Patrol Agent's Death May Have Been Accidental

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. There's new information tonight about the shooting of two border patrol agents along the Arizona-Mexico border earlier this week. One of the agents was killed in that incident. Well, the FBI now says that there are strong preliminary indications that the shooting was accidental and only involved the agents on the scene. NPR's Ted Robbins is following the story and joins me from Tucson. And, Ted, it sounds like the FBI is saying this is a case of friendly fire. What more do you know?

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Around the Nation
4:20 am
Wed October 3, 2012

U.S. Border Agent Shot Dead In Arizona

Originally published on Wed October 3, 2012 10:14 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

The death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent is now under investigation. Nicholas Ivie was on patrol in the desert along the Mexican border with Arizona yesterday when he was shot. NPR's Ted Robbins reports.

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Around the Nation
4:17 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Young Illegal Immigrants Seek Work Permits

Carlos Martinez, 30, shows off his new work permit, which he received after applying for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Mamta Popat Arizona Daily Star

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 5:54 pm

It's been more than a month since the government began accepting requests for its Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Obama administration's policy for young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Hundreds of thousands of people are eligible for the program. So far, only 82,000 have applied.

Carlos Martinez is one of the 29 people who have actually gotten deferrals. It means that he won't be deported, and that he can get a work permit. Martinez applied for the deferred action program the first day.

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