Border

Border & Immigration
5:40 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Texas Border Security Surge Is Combating Criminal Activity, Official Says

Posters on Texas-Mexico border operations were displayed at the Texas State Capitol this week.
KUT News

The Department of Public Safety says the number of people crossing the Texas-Mexico border has fallen dramatically since DPS expanded its operations there earlier this year.

Steve McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told a panel of House lawmakers that monthly apprehensions have dropped by about 25,000 people between June and now.

"Clearly we’ve had an impact," McCraw said. "There’s no question we’ve had an impact in the Rio Grande Valley."

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Border & Immigration
1:35 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Gov. Perry Orders Most State Agencies To Use E-Verify For Checking Legal Status

Gov. Rick Perry and Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw address Texas-Mexico border operations at a press conference on Dec. 3, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is ordering all state agencies under control of the governor's office to use E-Verify to check the residency status of employees and prospective employees. According to his office, 17 state agencies already use it. This announcement is something of a change of heart.

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Border & Immigration
9:54 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Outreach Begins For Immigrants Who May Be Wary to Come 'Out of the Shadows'

A student on the UT-Austin campus protests the deportation of undocumented immigrants.
Photo by Jorge Corona

The specifics of how undocumented people will register under the immigration overhaul announced by President Obama last week that would bring nearly 5 million immigrants "out of the shadows" are still unclear.  But some groups in Austin are already reaching out to people who may benefit.  

Bill Beardall is with the Equal Justice Center, one of the groups organizing a series of educational forums for immigrants that start this week.   He says after this kind of policy change, immigrants are often initially reluctant to register.

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Border & Immigration
6:45 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Dewhurst Says More DPS Officers Will Patrol Border as National Guard Goes Home

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said at a Nov. 19, 2014 Capitol press conference that the Texas National Guard will leave the Texas-Mexico border by next March or April.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says President Barack Obama's expected announcement tonight on immigration policy will do nothing more than encourage more people to try and come into Texas illegally. Lt. Gov. Dewhurst says that's why he supports boosting the number of law enforcement officers along the Texas-Mexico border.

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Politics
3:06 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Dewhurst Tells D.C. Crowd Prayer Rugs Found on Border

Candidate for Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst addresses the media in the parking lot of an Austin HEB before voting early in the 2014 runoffs, May 19, 2014.
Credit Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

In a speech in Washington, D.C., on Friday, outgoing Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst doubled down on claims that Muslim prayer rugs had been found on the Texas-Mexico border.

"Prayer rugs have recently been found on the Texas side of the border in the brush," Dewhurst said at the Values Voter Summit, according to a report on Friday by Talking Points Memo, a liberal news site.

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Border & Immigration
7:31 am
Mon September 8, 2014

U.S. Border Patrol Apprehending Fewer Central Americans

A man looks out towards the US from the Mexican side of the border fence that divides the two countries in San Diego. The U.S. Border Patrol says it has seen about a 60 percent drop in the number of Central Americans apprehended at the border.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 7, 2014 8:51 pm

The number of Central American children and families being apprehended at the U.S.-Mexican border has dropped dramatically in recent months, according to the U.S. Border Patrol. There has been a 60 percent decline in apprehensions of minors since the record numbers making the illegal trek earlier this summer.

A lot of factors may be contributing to the dramatic drop, including heavy rains along the migrant route and media campaigns in home countries dispelling rumors that kids can stay in the U.S.

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Immigration
7:31 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

National Guard, DPS Border Deployments Cost Texas Up to $18 Million a Month

The presence of Border Patrol agents and National Guard troops cost the state between $17 and 18 million every month, according to the LBB.
Julian Aguilar/Texas Tribune

Sending additional state police and National Guard troops to the border will cost Texas between $17 million and $18 million dollars a month. That's according to a presentation Tuesday by top officials with the Legislative Budget Board (LBB), who told state lawmakers they will have to find a way to keep paying for it. 

About one-third of that cost is for salaries, travel and other expenses of Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers sent to the border as part of "Operation Strong Safety II."  Close to two-thirds of the $18 million will cover salary, meals, lodging and other costs of deploying up to 1,000 National Guard troops. 

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Border & Immigration
10:59 am
Wed August 6, 2014

A Private Prison Group Runs Texas' New Immigrant Detention Center

Cameras monitor every area of the Karnes City immigrant facility, managed by GEO Group, but officials say residents have freedom of movement within the locked facility.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Texas’ newest detention center for immigrant children and mothers opened last week in Karnes City, just 54 miles outside of San Antonio. But less than a week out, the facility’s already garnering scorn from immigration attorneys in Austin.

Those attorneys – the same ones who helped shut down the troubled T. Don Hutto detention center north of Austin in 2009 – take umbrage with the fact that the Karnes facility is run by the GEO Group, a for-profit company with a less-than-impeccable reputation.

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Border & Immigration
10:30 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Texas Lawmakers Keep Questions on Border Security Operations Front & Center

State Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, chair of the Texas House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety, listens to testimony on Aug. 5, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Gov. Rick Perry's border security surge was under the microscope at the Texas Capitol Tuesday. In two separate meetings, lawmakers tried to get a handle on how much money was being spent, and what the money was being spent on.

Gov. Perry’s office has identified a source for $38 million dollars in state funding that are going towards a deployment of up to 1,000 National Guard troops and an increase in Department of Public Safety officers in South Texas.

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Border & Immigration
1:14 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Lawmakers Question Perry's Funding of National Guard

Criticizing a lack of federal response on border issues, Governor Rick Perry announces deployment of up to 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border on July 21, 2014.
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

Some Texas lawmakers are questioning Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to tap $38 million in unused Texas Department of Public Safety funds to pay for the emergency deployment of the Texas National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Perry is citing a provision in the budget that allows him to tap unexpended funds for emergencies without using the more typical “execution authority” of the Legislative Budget Board, which has the power to move money between agencies when the Legislature is not in session.

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Education
11:48 am
Mon August 4, 2014

With Uncertainty, Schools Prepare for New Arrivals

On June 24, 2014, volunteers gather at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, where the Rio Grande Valley Catholic Charities have a makeshift shelter to help handle the surge of immigrants who have crossed into the U.S. in recent weeks.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Federal officials along the border have scrambled in the last few months to house and care for tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America crossing the border into the United States.

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Immigration
8:10 am
Mon August 4, 2014

The Texas Border has Relaunched Rick Perry's Presidential Plans

Gov. Rick Perry, seen here announcing he's sending 1,000 troops to the Texas border. Gov. Perry's political capital has risen as Texas's border and immigration issues have increased.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Texas Gov. Rick Perry took a beating during his 2012 presidential campaign for what many Tea Party activists considered a soft stance on immigration.

But as Gov. Perry has battled President Obama over the increase of unaccompanied minors crossing the border, his poll numbers for a possible 2016 run are on the rise.

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Border & Immigration
8:50 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

House Approves Border Security Spending Bill, 223-189

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 10:22 am

This post was updated at 11 p.m. ET.

In an attempt to weigh in on an immigration issue before Congress leaves Washington for a five-week break, the House has voted 223-189 to approve a $694 million emergency funding bill. The Republican-backed legislation is a response to the rising number of minors who have crossed the U.S. border unaccompanied and without going through the necessary legal steps.

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Immigration
9:29 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Central American Immigrants Are Welcomed in This Texas Town

Federal officials opened the doors to give a tour of the newly renovated detention facility in Karnes City, Texas, designed to house mothers and children aprehended at the border.
I

Today, buses with Central American mothers and children apprehended at the border  start arriving in Karnes City, about 54 miles southeast of San Antonio.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)  just finished remodeling a facility there. But unlike other cities, this detention center isn’t causing a stir in the community.

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Politics
4:04 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

House Cancels Vote On $659 Million Border Security Bill

Texas Parks and Wildlife wardens patrol the Rio Grande on the U.S.-Mexico border in Mission, Texas, earlier this month.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 7:54 pm

Updated at 8:50 p.m. ET.

House GOP leaders pulled the plug on a $659 million bill to deal with the influx of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors entering the U.S. from Central America.

The vote on the legislation had been scheduled for this afternoon on the final day before the start of a five-week summer break for Congress.

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Border & Immigration
11:14 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Migrant Children Have State, Federal Foster Care Competing for Parents

On June 24, 2014, volunteers gather at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, where the Rio Grande Valley Catholic Charities have a makeshift shelter to help handle the surge of immigrants who have crossed into the U.S. in recent weeks.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

The influx of children from Central America arriving at the Texas-Mexico border has many people asking how they can help.

One way people can help is by becoming foster parents – but acting as a foster parent for the federal government is different than being a foster parent for the state.

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Border & Immigration
10:02 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Can National Guard Troops Make Arrests Along the Texas Border?

Texas Adjudant General John Nichols speaks at a press conference on the deployment of the Texas National Guard to the border on July 21, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Can the National Guard troops being deployed to the border arrest and detain people? Only if Gov. Rick Perry says they can. But experts do have some concerns about giving law enforcement powers to a reserve military force.

From a legal standpoint, the National Guard has no authority to enforce federal immigration law, because the troops will be operating under the governor’s authority. In this case, Gov. Perry has called them up, and not President Barack Obama.

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Immigration
8:56 am
Sun July 27, 2014

One Woman, 817 Children: Caring For Kids Of Undocumented Parents

Nora Sandigo sits with Ronald Soza and his sister Cecia in 2009, while the children were on a hunger strike to protest the deportation of their mother. Sandigo is the legal guardian of the Soza children (now 15 and 18) — and 815 other American children of undocumented immigrants.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Sun July 27, 2014 10:26 am

The recent increase in the number of unaccompanied, undocumented minors immigrating across the border has left tens of thousands of children waiting in limbo. But thousands of children who are already American citizens also face an uncertain future — because their parents are not in the country legally.

If their parents get deported, those minors could end up in foster care, or adopted by strangers.

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Border & Immigration
4:40 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

How Can You Measure the Success of National Guard Troops on the Border?

Members of the Texas National Guard
flickr.com/texasmilitaryforces

The eyes of the nation are focused on the Texas-Mexico border, due to the humanitarian crisis involving undocumented and unaccompanied minors. This week, Gov. Rick Perry announced the deployment of 1,000 Texas National Guard Troops to the border.

Politically speaking, Gov. Perry’s message is that the Federal Government is failing in its duties. But in a story set to be published in Sunday’s Austin American-Statesman, investigative reporters Jeremy Schwartz and Eric Dexheimer pose a question: just what constitutes “mission accomplished?” 

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Border & Immigration
3:58 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

How Austin Can Help Unaccompanied Minors at the Border

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Unaccompanied minors and other immigrants continue to arrive at the border, creating a national dialogue on immigration reform.

President Obama is expected to meet with the presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras today to discuss the humanitarian crisis along the border.

Organizations and faith-based groups around the country are doing what they can to assist the minors. Austin is no exception – several organizations and churches are currently accepting donations. Here’s a roundup:

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