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.

Pages

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.

Read more
Around the Nation
5:58 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Drought Forces Restrictions On Colorado River Water Releases

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.

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.

Read more
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.

Read more
Law
6:04 am
Tue June 18, 2013

High Court Strikes Down Voting Law In Arizona

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 1:52 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

On a Tuesday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene.

When the Supreme Court nears the end of a session, you can feel the drama on a day like yesterday. Some big decisions loomed - cases dealing with affirmative action and gay marriage.

Read more
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.

Read more
The Deadly Tornado In Moore, Okla.
6:55 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.

Law
8:03 am
Sat May 25, 2013

Tough Arizona Sheriff Gets Judicial Reprimand

Originally published on Sat May 25, 2013 1:19 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. A federal judge in Arizona has ruled against the man who calls himself America's toughest sheriff. The judge ruled that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department has used racial profiling to enforce the state's tough immigration laws. Sheriff Joe Arpaio has maintained that his department has the authority to round up undocumented immigrants. NPR's Ted Robbins has been following the case and joins us now. Ted, thanks for being with us.

TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: You're welcome.

Read more
Around the Nation
4:21 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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
Around the Nation
6:03 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

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 6:17 pm

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

Read more
Economy
5:22 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.

Pages