Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune http://kut.org en On Border, Flowers an Unlikely Form of Contraband http://kut.org/post/border-flowers-unlikely-form-contraband <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px;">EL PASO — The flowers that decorate offices, homes and restaurants along the Mexico border have been inspected as closely at border crossings as many door panels and car&nbsp;trunks, well-known hiding places used by drug mules to export heroin, cocaine and marijuana.</p><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 1.35;">In the weeks before Valentine’s Day, flower shipments passing through Mexico and into the United States have surged. But nestled in those floral arrangements may be tiny pests and diseases that can wreak havoc with domestic plants in the United States. The job of preventing those pests from entering the country falls to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents who inspect all plants that pass through the border crossings in Texas and elsewhere.</span></p><p> Fri, 14 Feb 2014 20:17:38 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune & Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 9790 at http://kut.org On Border, Flowers an Unlikely Form of Contraband Immigration Reform Activists Arrested During Protest http://kut.org/post/immigration-reform-activists-arrested-during-protest <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15.199999809265137px;">Travis County sheriff’s deputies on Monday saw firsthand what immigration-reform activists hope will be a series of civil disobedience protests across Texas.</p> Mon, 03 Feb 2014 19:36:55 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 9701 at http://kut.org Immigration Reform Activists Arrested During Protest Van de Putte To Announce Future Political Plans on Friday http://kut.org/post/van-de-putte-announce-future-political-plans-friday <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box;">Sources close to state Sen.&nbsp;<a data-tooltip="/directory/leticia-van-de-putte/quicklook/" href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/leticia-van-de-putte/" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(0, 137, 144);" title="">Leticia Van de Putte</a>, D-San Antonio, say she is poised to make an announcement on her political future on Friday. But the likely Democratic contender for lieutenant governor is expected to do what gubernatorial candidate&nbsp;<a data-tooltip="/directory/wendy-davis/quicklook/" href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/wendy-davis/" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(0, 137, 144);" title="">Wendy Davis</a>&nbsp;did: reveal a future date for a formal announcement.</span></p><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 1.35;">“I can't think of somebody who would be a better lieutenant governor for Texas," Democratic consultant Glenn Smith said. "With her legislative experience, the deep care she has for Texas and its future, her work ethic, her honesty, I mean she’d be darn near perfect.”</span></p><p></p><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 1.35;">If Van de Putte throws her name in, she'd be the only Democrat seeking the post currently held by Lt. Gov.&nbsp;<a data-tooltip="/directory/david-dewhurst/quicklook/" href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/david-dewhurst/" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(0, 137, 144);">David Dewhurst</a>, who is facing a Republican primary challenge from state Sen.&nbsp;<a data-tooltip="/directory/dan-patrick/quicklook/" href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/dan-patrick/" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(0, 137, 144);">Dan Patrick</a>, R-Houston, Land Commissioner&nbsp;<a data-tooltip="/directory/jerry-patterson/quicklook/" href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/jerry-patterson/" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(0, 137, 144);">Jerry Patterson</a>&nbsp;and Agriculture Commissioner&nbsp;<a data-tooltip="/directory/todd-staples/quicklook/" href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/todd-staples/" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(0, 137, 144);">Todd Staples</a>. &nbsp;</span></p><p> Thu, 14 Nov 2013 01:51:36 +0000 Brandi Grissom, Texas Tribune & Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 9185 at http://kut.org Van de Putte To Announce Future Political Plans on Friday Report Highlights Issues With Gun Running Into Mexico http://kut.org/post/report-highlights-issues-gun-running-mexico <p></p><p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15.454545021057129px;">As the gun control debate swirls around issues like background checks and mental health, a new study reveals that gun running into Mexico remains a large-scale problem.</p> Wed, 03 Apr 2013 15:55:40 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 7203 at http://kut.org Report Highlights Issues With Gun Running Into Mexico Narco Cinema Finds Growing Audience in Austin http://kut.org/post/narco-cinema-finds-growing-audience-austin <p></p><p>After the arrest in 2010 of Edgar Valdez Villarreal, who the authorities said was the head of a violent Mexican drug cartel, customers at Video Mexico in Austin told Eduardo Betancourt, the owner, something he should have known: The man’s life was already the subject of a low-budget movie.</p><p>Betancourt’s video-store customers are part of a legion of aficionados of Mexican narco cinema, hastily made films that are inspired by the cartels. The films usually skip theaters, going directly to home video.</p><p> Fri, 29 Mar 2013 20:23:53 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 7151 at http://kut.org Narco Cinema Finds Growing Audience in Austin Obama's Immigration Plan Inspires Some, Irks Others http://kut.org/post/obamas-immigration-plan-inspires-some-irks-others <p></p><p>A day after a bipartisan group of U.S. senators&nbsp;<a href="http://www.texastribune.org/2013/01/28/immigration-reform-plan-earns-praise-raises-concer/">offered a plan</a>&nbsp;to fix the country’s immigration system, President Obama offered up his own — and warned lawmakers to get serious about the issue or deal with him.</p><p>“If Congress is unable to move forward in a timely fashion, I will send up a bill based on my proposal and insist that they vote on it right away,” he told a crowd in Las Vegas.</p><p> Wed, 30 Jan 2013 17:50:27 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 6398 at http://kut.org Obama's Immigration Plan Inspires Some, Irks Others Will Marijuana Laws in Other States Prompt Change in Texas? http://kut.org/post/will-marijuana-laws-other-states-prompt-change-texas <p><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.35;">A veteran lawmaker hopes actions taken by state legislatures in Washington and Colorado will pave the way for Texas policymakers to consider a bill that hasn’t been heard in committee in nearly a decade.</span></p> Thu, 24 Jan 2013 18:33:00 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 6328 at http://kut.org Will Marijuana Laws in Other States Prompt Change in Texas? In Mexico, a New Plan to End Drug Violence http://kut.org/post/mexico-new-plan-end-drug-violence <p>NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico – The tank that has stood at the entrance to this Mexican border city since 2008 was not here on Christmas Eve. Neither was the machine gun turret that pointed down this gritty town’s main street.</p><p>But the masked soldiers remained. Residents say it is a sign that little law enforcement appears to exist except for the military officers who patrol the streets.</p><p>That could change, however, under policies announced recently by Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s newly inaugurated president.</p><p> Tue, 01 Jan 2013 17:29:00 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 6013 at http://kut.org In Mexico, a New Plan to End Drug Violence Mexico's New Political Regime Sparks Activism in Texas http://kut.org/post/mexicos-new-political-regime-sparks-activism-texas <p>The beginning of a new political era in Mexico has given rise to a new wave of activism in Texas aiming to keep attention on human rights awareness across the border.</p><p>A group of activists from Texas and Mexico will descend on the Mexican consulate’s office in Austin on Thursday to denounce the detainment of several dozen protesters who clashed with police in Mexico City during the inauguration of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Dec. 1.</p><p>Peña Nieto’s presidency marks the return to power for the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which ruled Mexico for more than 70 years before losing to the more conservative National Action Party in 2000.</p><p> Thu, 13 Dec 2012 17:20:49 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 5899 at http://kut.org Mexico's New Political Regime Sparks Activism in Texas George W. Bush: 'Benevolent Spirit' Can Guide Debate http://kut.org/post/george-w-bush-benevolent-spirit-can-guide-debate <p>DALLAS — During his opening remarks Tuesday at a daylong conference on immigration and the economy, former President George W. Bush urged the nation’s leaders to debate immigration reform with compassion and kindness.</p><p>In a brief appearance at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Bush did not advocate for a specific solution. But his statements indicated he supports policies similar to those he championed during his presidency, when immigration reform was last debated in Congress.</p><p> Tue, 04 Dec 2012 21:02:23 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 5821 at http://kut.org George W. Bush: 'Benevolent Spirit' Can Guide Debate McCaul to Be Named Chair of Homeland Security Committee http://kut.org/post/mccaul-be-named-chair-homeland-security-committee <div class="content"><p>U.S. Rep. <a href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/michael-mccaul/">Michael McCaul</a>, R-Austin, will be named the chairman of the powerful <a href="http://homeland.house.gov/">House Committee on Homeland Security</a>&nbsp;later today, Republican sources have confirmed.&nbsp;</p><p>McCaul, who currently chairs the subcommittee on <a href="http://homeland.house.gov/subcommittee-oversight-investigations-and-management">Oversight, Investigations and Management</a> and is also a member of the subcommittee on <a href="http://homeland.house.gov/subcommittee-1">Border and Maritime Security</a>, will replace Congressman Peter King, R-New York, who announced just days ago that he was leaving the post. King has chaired the committee since 2005, the same year the U.S. House granted the committee permanent status. It was created in 2002.</p> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 23:19:34 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 5737 at http://kut.org McCaul to Be Named Chair of Homeland Security Committee Peña Nieto's Visit Likely to Focus on Trade, Economy http://kut.org/post/pe-nietos-visit-likely-focus-trade-economy <p>Mexico’s commitment to security and its strong symbiotic economic ties with the United States will probably be key talking points when the country's next leader visits the White House on Tuesday, according to a former U.S. ambassador to Mexico.</p><p>President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto will meet with President Obama and congressional leaders to discuss the countries’ futures amid a sluggish economy and concerns over transnational violence. Peña Nieto, who won Mexico’s presidential election in July, will take the oath of office Saturday. His victory brings a return to power for the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which was in charge for more than 70 years last century. The conservative National Action Party, or PAN, had been in power the last 12 years.</p><p>Antonio Garza, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Mexico from 2002 to 2009 and is now counsel in the Mexico City office of White &amp; Case, said Peña Nieto should stress Mexico’s place in the world as an emerging market.</p><p> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 16:35:08 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 5730 at http://kut.org Peña Nieto's Visit Likely to Focus on Trade, Economy Court Upholds Ban on Gun Sales to Those Younger Than 21 http://kut.org/post/court-upholds-ban-gun-sales-those-younger-21 <p><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.35; ">A federal appellate court has affirmed a lower court’s decision that banning the purchase of handguns by people younger than 21 does not infringe on a person’s constitutional rights.</span></p> Thu, 25 Oct 2012 22:36:46 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune & Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 5457 at http://kut.org Court Upholds Ban on Gun Sales to Those Younger Than 21 Concerns Raised After Living Voters Flagged as Dead http://kut.org/post/concerns-raised-after-living-voters-flagged-dead <p><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.35; ">Travis County resident Michael Moore isn’t dead. And he doesn’t know why he has to prove it to be able to vote.</span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; ">Moore received one of about 82,000 letters recently mailed out by elections officials asking recipients&nbsp;to verify their voter status and prove they are not deceased, the result of a little-known House bill passed last year by the Legislature.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; "><a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=82R&amp;Bill=HB174" style="color: rgb(0, 137, 144); ">House Bill 174,</a>&nbsp;sponsored by state Rep.&nbsp;<a data-tooltip="/directory/jim-jackson/quicklook/" href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/jim-jackson/" style="color: rgb(0, 137, 144); ">Jim Jackson</a>, R-Carrollton, requires the Texas secretary of state’s office to access the Social Security Administration’s death master file to check for deceased or possibly deceased registered voters and purge them from voter rolls.</p><p> Wed, 12 Sep 2012 18:20:01 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 5069 at http://kut.org Concerns Raised After Living Voters Flagged as Dead Lawyers: Approved Deferred Action Applicants Can Get IDs http://kut.org/post/lawyers-approved-deferred-action-applicants-can-get-ids <p><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.35; ">Immigration lawyers and legal scholars say applicants who are approved for&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.texastribune.org/immigration-in-texas/immigration/interactive-mapping-dream-eligible-youth-texas/" style="font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(0, 137, 144); ">deferred action</a><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.35; ">&nbsp;will be able to obtain state-issued ID cards and driver’s licenses under state policies, despite their lack of official legal status in the country.</span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; ">Gov.&nbsp;<a data-tooltip="/directory/rick-perry/quicklook/" href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/rick-perry/" style="color: rgb(0, 137, 144); ">Rick Perry</a>&nbsp;on Monday issued a memo to state agencies reminding them that despite the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.texastribune.org/immigration-in-texas/immigration/dhs-issue-permits-grant-relief-immigrant-youth/" style="color: rgb(0, 137, 144); ">federal policy</a>&nbsp;that allows some illegal immigrants a two-year reprieve from deportation and a renewable&nbsp;work permit, known as&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=f2ef2f19470f7310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&amp;vgnextchannel=f2ef2f19470f7310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD" style="color: rgb(0, 137, 144); ">Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals</a>, or DACA, Texas' policies on individuals in the country illegally remain unchanged.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; ">Perry’s office said the governor had no plans to issue an executive order to amend any state policies and did not mention a specific agency he was concerned with. Instead, he used the federal government’s own words to reiterate that applicants — even if approved — hold no status or pathway to citizenship.</p><p style="margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; ">“In fact, the [Department of Homeland Security] secretary specifically closed her directive by explaining that [t]his memorandum confers no substantive right, immigration status or pathway to citizenship,” Perry wrote in a letter to Attorney General&nbsp;<a data-tooltip="/directory/greg-abbott/quicklook/" href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/greg-abbott/" style="color: rgb(0, 137, 144); ">Greg Abbott</a>&nbsp;dated Aug. 16.</p><p> Wed, 22 Aug 2012 12:58:17 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 4927 at http://kut.org Lawyers: Approved Deferred Action Applicants Can Get IDs Perry: 'Deferred Action' Doesn't Change State Policies http://kut.org/post/perry-deferred-action-doesnt-change-state-policies <p>Gov<span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.35; ">.&nbsp;</span><a data-tooltip="/directory/rick-perry/quicklook/" href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/rick-perry/" style="font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(0, 137, 144); ">Rick Perry</a><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.35; ">&nbsp;advised state agencies on Monday that despite the Obama administration’s “deferred action” policy allowing illegal immigrants a two-year reprieve from deportation and a renewable&nbsp;work permit, Texas' policies on persons in the country illegally remain unchanged.</span></p><p style="margin-bottom: 1em; padding: 0px; font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.35; color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; ">Perry's rebuke of the president's plan, which he called a "slap in the face to the rule of law," comes a week after it took effect.</p><p> Mon, 20 Aug 2012 17:59:31 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 4913 at http://kut.org Perry: 'Deferred Action' Doesn't Change State Policies Caravan From Mexico Seeks to Condemn U.S. Drug Policy http://kut.org/post/caravan-mexico-seeks-condemn-us-drug-policy <p>Carrying the weight of his murdered son&rsquo;s memory, a Mexican poet is leading a national caravan &mdash; with stops in Austin and several other Texas cities &mdash; to publicly condemn American drug policies.</p><p>Javier Sicilia and his&nbsp;<a href="http://www.caravanforpeace.org/caravan/?p=2104">Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity</a>, a group whose members have been affected by drug-related violence in Mexico &mdash; including several who have lost loved ones &mdash; will descend on the state Capitol on Aug. 25. The group aims to raise awareness of how it says U.S. drug policy, particularly the war on drugs, has affected Mexico.</p><p>&ldquo;In order to protect the 23 million drug consumers in the United States, this nation initiated this war that has destroyed Colombia and which now in turn is destroying Mexico, Central America, and is also menacing to destroy in the medium term the United States itself,&rdquo; Sicilia wrote on the movement&rsquo;s website.&nbsp;&ldquo;The burden we bear upon us contains the weight of our dead, of our missing ones, of those displaced, of our criminalized and humiliated immigrants.&rdquo;</p><p> Wed, 15 Aug 2012 16:11:35 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 4886 at http://kut.org Caravan From Mexico Seeks to Condemn U.S. Drug Policy Ahead of Election, GOP Assails Democrats on Immigration http://kut.org/post/ahead-election-gop-assails-democrats-immigration <p>A&nbsp;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kopRTfWeNo&amp;feature=youtu.be">new ad</a>&nbsp;in toss-up state Nevada warns Hispanic voters that a vote for President Obama is a vote for the &ldquo;deporter-in-chief&rdquo; &mdash;&nbsp;an incumbent who fell short on his campaign promise to enact immigration reform.</p><p>&quot;Since he took office, President Obama has&nbsp;broken up hundreds of thousands of families through a policy of massive deportations,&rdquo; Alfonso Aguilar, the executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, said in a news release. &ldquo;He has been hoodwinking the American people,&nbsp;deploring&nbsp;the Arizona and Georgia immigration laws as bad laws, while deporting more immigrants than any modern president.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBxIcofSjFs&amp;feature=youtu.be">ad</a>, paid for by the conservative nonprofit&nbsp;<a href="http://www.americanprinciplesinaction.org/">American Principles in Action</a>, is part of a larger strategy by Republicans to challenge the perception that Democrats are friendlier toward immigrants than they are.</p><p> Thu, 09 Aug 2012 21:17:19 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 4848 at http://kut.org Ahead of Election, GOP Assails Democrats on Immigration Interactive: Who's Eligible for Deferred Action in Texas http://kut.org/post/interactive-whos-eligible-deferred-action-texas <p>The Obama administration next week will begin accepting applications for deferred action from what it expects to be hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the country illegally.</p><div class="content"><p>The policy, <a href="http://www.texastribune.org/immigration-in-texas/immigration/dhs-issue-permits-grant-relief-immigrant-youth/">which was announced June 15</a>, grants relief from deportation proceedings to certain immigrants who meet certain guidelines. Two-year work permits will also be issued to qualified applicants.</p> Wed, 08 Aug 2012 18:01:31 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune & Becca Aaronson, Texas Tribune 4836 at http://kut.org Interactive: Who's Eligible for Deferred Action in Texas Feds Announce Details on Deferred Action http://kut.org/post/feds-announce-details-deferred-action <p>Immigrants brought to the country illegally by their parents will likely not face prosecution or other repercussions &mdash; and neither will their families &mdash; if they apply for a new federal program that allows them to avoid deportation, federal officials said Friday.</p><p>Under a policy&nbsp;<a href="http://www.texastribune.org/immigration-in-texas/immigration/dhs-issue-permits-grant-relief-immigrant-youth/">shift announced in June</a>, certain illegal immigrants&nbsp;beginning Aug. 15 can apply for what the government calls&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=f2ef2f19470f7310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&amp;vgnextchannel=f2ef2f19470f7310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD#guidelines">deferred action</a>.&nbsp;It would release them from deportation proceedings and allow them to apply for work permits. The renewable status will last two years.</p><p>But officials also warned that applicants for deferred action who knowingly lie, attempt fraud or do not meet the criteria but apply anyway could be considered immigration-enforcement priorities and turned over to prosecutors for removal proceedings.</p><p> Mon, 06 Aug 2012 12:27:27 +0000 Julian Aguilar, Texas Tribune 4820 at http://kut.org Feds Announce Details on Deferred Action