Image via Flickr/CPOA (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

A funny thing happened on the way to the U.S. House passing a bill called the “Safe Act” yesterday. Inspired by concerns after the Paris Attacks, this bill would extend background checks on refugees from Syria and put up major obstacles to the President’s plan to admit 10,000 refugees before he leaves office.

Congressman Henry Cuellar was one of 47 Democrats to OK the legislation, five of those Democrats from Texas. That helped lead the House to a majority to override President Obama’s promised veto.


Image via Flickr/The White House (U.S. Government Works)

From Texas Standard:

Following another legal setback to President Barack Obama's immigration executive action, the Justice Department says it plans to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the lawsuit.

(Updated at 11:32 a.m. ET.)

A federal appeals court in New Orleans dealt President Obama a big blow on Monday when it ruled that Obama had overstepped his legal authority in attempting to shield up to 5 million immigrants from deportation.

The Obama administration has vowed to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

Image via Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

From Texas Standard:

There have been a lot of non-Texans talking about the southern border lately. Presidential hopefuls, public officials and others seem to all have opinions on what's wrong with border security and how to fix it.

Take, for instance, talk-show host Sean Hannity. "[We need] virtual fences, virtual surveillance – impenetrable border," he says.


Image via Wikimedia/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

Earlier this month, Gov. Greg Abbott warned Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez that he’d “no longer tolerate” Texas sheriff offices that don’t comply with federal immigration authorities on detainer requests. Yesterday Abbott made good on his threat: he says the state will withhold grant funding from any counties that refuse to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Valdez has caught flak for saying she would begin making case-by-case decisions on whether to honor ICE requests for detainment. The requests ask county jails to hold undocumented immigrants with criminal records for up to 48 hours longer than their set release time so officials can take them into custody.


YouTube/Mark Van Stone

In the last few years, the face of immigration from Latin America has changed. It's become predominantly Central American.

The language spoken has changed as well. It's still mostly Spanish speakers, but there are also more and more speakers of Mayan languages spoken in Guatemala, Belize and Southern Mexico. Millions of people speak Mayan languages across the world, but the U.S. is facing a shortage of translators.

Image via Flickr/U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

The world is in the midst of the largest displacement of human beings since World War II. The images of the people leaving their country in makeshift rafts are the images of Syrians.

Not too long ago, it was Cubans who were braving the ocean. Not anymore.


Travis County is working towards using a federal system that verifies the immigration status of those applying to work for the county. But County Commissioners have a few reservations.

Image via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

This summer, a 32-year-old San Francisco woman was shot and killed by an undocumented immigrant who had previous run-ins with law enforcement. The shooter had been released from a local jail, despite a detention request by immigration officials.

Image via Beth Cortez-NeavelTexas Standard

From Texas Standard:

The term "alien" is used to describe many things.

It's the monster that claws its way out of bodies in the Sigourney Weaver franchise. It's the odd-looking form with almond shaped eyes which trolls trailer parks, probing unsuspecting earthlings. One of them allegedly piloted a craft that crash-landed in Roswell, N.M. Maybe an alien will soon may ring your doorbell, shouting "trick-or-treat."

The word "alien" has many uses, but Rep. Joaquín Castro says the word has no business in the official language of the United States. He's calling for the word to be banned because he says it is dehumanizing.


KUT News

Austin Mayor Steve Adler is among those calling on Texas state leaders to drop a lawsuit over President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration.

Photo via Flickr/blmurch (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The question of how Americans define friends living in foreign lands – and how Americans define people who’ve migrated to the U.S. – has been on Sheila Croucher's mind for the last decade or so. She teaches Global and Intercultural Studies at Miami University of Ohio, and says a word as seemingly straightforward as "immigrant" is anything but.

Flickr/thomashawk (CC BY-NC 2.0)

We’ve been hearing a lot lately from politicians and public figures about crimes committed by immigrants to the U.S., but a new study by a group of researchers, including a University of Texas at Austin professor, suggests foreign-born teens are actually much less likely to commit crimes than those born in the U.S.

Guatemalan Activist Granted Stay of Deportation

Aug 18, 2015
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

Sulma Franco, an LGBTQ activist from Guatemala, was granted a stay of deportation today by immigration officials in San Antonio. She traveled this morning from Austin to San Antonio with a group of activists and supporters to submit her application for the stay.

Franco had been facing deportation, and since June she'd been living in sanctuary at Austin's First Unitarian Universalist Church. Franco requested asylum in the U.S., but was denied based on a “clerical error,” according to activists working for her cause.

In Guatemala, LGBTQ activists have been targeted and killed, Franco argued. She says that she feared for her life there.

Google Maps

When you hear the words "Mexican immigrant," what image pops into your head? 

Maybe you're picturing a male day laborer. But Rogelio Saenz from the University of Texas at San Antonio says the latest data does not reflect that.

"Women are becoming​ much more a part of the Mexican immigrant population," Saenz says.

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

A federal judge ruled Friday in favor of immigrant rights lawyers who have said the current detention of immigrant children violates a court settlement from 1997 known as the Flores vs Meese Agreement. U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee issued her decision in California.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has yet to announce how it will proceed. DHS recently changed the rules of how it releases mothers and children currently in detention. 

State Seeks to Dismiss Lawsuit Over Birth Certificates

Jul 23, 2015
Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Wednesday asked a federal district judge to dismiss a lawsuit that claims a state agency violated the U.S. Constitution by denying birth certificates to U.S.-citizen children of immigrant parents.

Attorneys with Paxton’s office said that the Texas Department of State Health Services, which is being sued by 17 families living in Cameron, Hidalgo and Starr counties, has sovereign immunity under the 11th Amendment and cannot be sued in federal court because it has not waived that right, according to court documents. 

The immunity extends to interim DSHS Commissioner Kirk Cole and State Registrar Geraldine Harris, who are also named as defendants in the suit, Paxton's office argues.

Congress to Vote on Sanctuary Cities

Jul 22, 2015
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Republicans in Texas who grouse that the federal government doesn’t enforce immigration laws might soon have Congress to thank for beefing up enforcement at the state and local levels.

The U.S. House is on track to vote later this week on legislation that would cut off federal funding for cities that don't enforce immigration laws. 

Most members of Congress interviewed by The Texas Tribune on Tuesday had not yet read the legislation — dubbed the Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act — but said they were considering it ahead of the likely Thursday vote. 

“I think we need to obey the law, but I want to see what sort of language they have on it,” said U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Laredo Democrat.

DonkeyHotey / flickr

From Texas Standard:

Immigration is often discussed in terms of government policy and official enforcement efforts – or lack thereof, depending on whom you ask. But when citizens take actions into their own hands, the dimensions of the discussion get more complicated.

In Dallas, one landlord is reportedly checking the immigration status of tenants and rejecting lease renewals of those who don’t have social security numbers. Now some people are urging Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and the Dallas City Council to step in and stop these unofficial immigration checks.

Jessica Wright/flickr

What does it mean to be a "welcoming" city?

More specifically, what would Austin need to do to become more welcoming toward people from other countries? Perhaps it would need to implement signage in different languages, or perhaps, it'd need to do other things.

In order to find out what those other things are, a team of advisors recently surveyed Austinites and is compiling the answers into a report.