Kate McGee, KUT News

More than 100 Austin parents, teachers and community members gathered at Mendez Middle School Saturday for an immigration forum sponsored by the teachers union, Education Austin. Advocacy groups and organizations provided information to undocumented immigrants about a pathway to citizenship and the latest on immigration reform.

It's a process that advocates say can stress out many parents. But it can be a stressor on children as well.

83rd Lege's Regular Session: What Happened, What Didn't

May 28, 2013
Bob Daemmrich/Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Todd Wiseman via Texas Tribune

It's been a whirlwind of an end to the 83rd Legislature's regular session, and with Monday's announcement of a special session, lawmakers aren't done. Here's a look at the deals reached and the measures that fell short during the 140 days of the regular session. 


Ann Choi for KUT News

A UT student organization held a ceremony today for undocumented students who will graduate with their peers this weekend.

Last year, undocumented students became eligible to apply for a two year-long work permit that would protect them from deportation through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. However, the undocumented graduates said the policy protects only the students –not their families – and therefore, it’s not a permanent solution.

New immigrants will be the main driver of population growth in the U.S. by as early as 2027, according to new Census Bureau projections.

This would be the first time in almost two centuries that new births will not be the largest source of U.S. population growth.

The Census Bureau says its projections show a combination of declining fertility rates, aging baby boomers and ongoing immigration to the United States.

Bobby Blanchard for KUT News

The City of Austin’s Commission on Immigrant Affairs unveiled emergency cards Friday designed to help first responders assist people who don’t speak English.

The business card-sized rectangles allow those people to hand over basic personal and medical information to emergency responders. This includes information such as name, allergies and other vital information needed in emergency situations.

In Texas, Border Patrol Agents are among those affected by Washington’s across-the-board budget cuts known as the “sequester”. The men and women guarding the more than 12 hundred miles of Texas’ border say that brings good news and bad news at a time when illegal border crossings from Mexico are slightly up.

Sequester-related furloughs for border patrol agents start next month. Meaning, there will be fewer agents at the border at any given time and agents will not get paid for the fourteen days they are furloughed.

Marissa Barnett, KUT News

Several hundred people marched to the Texas Capitol today with a message for state legislators and President Obama: “Listen, we are in the struggle.”

For those who rallied Friday, the struggle is for immigration reform.

Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition

Austin drivers can expect traffic delays later this morning because of an immigration reform march downtown.

The Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition is putting on what it calls the "first Texas statewide march in 2013 for Humane Immigration Reform." The coalition promotes human rights and economic justices for immigrants.

Partner organizations from El Paso, Dallas, Houston and other cities will be in attendance. According to a Facebook event, more than 400 people are coming to the march.


As many as half of Texas construction workers could be undocumented immigrants, according to a study released today.

In the study, the Workers Defense Project examined building permits in five big markets across the state, including Austin. They visited random residential and commercial building projects to survey 1,200 construction workers during lunch breaks or after their shifts.

Jacob Villanueva/Texas Tribune

As Congress continues to debate whether to take up comprehensive immigration legislation, some Texas lawmakers hope to get the Legislature to support those efforts.

Reps. Ana Hernandez Luna, D-Houston, and Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, filed a resolution this morning that would “urge Congress to swiftly enact and fund comprehensive immigration reform.”

An event in Austin today aims to bring together Texas leaders in business, law enforcement and faith to talk about immigration.

Liang Shi, KUT News

The 2013 Texas Legislature is running behind last session when it comes to bill filings, according to legislative reporting service Telicon.

The firm reports 476 fewer bills have been filed this legislative session, compared to this time in the 2011 session. The 27 percent drop is partially to blame on 2011 being a big year for ideological legislative filings, said UT government professor Jim Henson.

Ann Choi/KUT News

With immigration reform on the agenda in Washington, U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro of San Antonio predicted today that some sort of path to citizenship will be created for undocumented workers. 

At the annual Texas Association of Business conference today, Castro said the current immigration system creates a second class of people who can never gain citizenship. However, he believes that society's changed views on immigration ultimately will lead to change in policy.

With President Obama and some legislators from both parties pushing immigration reform, Texas’s Sen. John Cornyn says he does not support a comprehensive overhaul of the country’s immigration laws.

Instead, he advocates stricter enforcement of existing laws.

Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

A day after a bipartisan group of U.S. senators offered a plan 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.

“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.

Update at 3:06 p.m. ET. 'Now Is The Time':

Talking to an audience in Las Vegas, an upbeat President Obama said that "now is the time" for "common sense comprehensive immigration reform."

While Obama echoed the pillars of immigration reform presented by a bipartisan group of senators on Monday, he also made an emotional plea for reform.

"What makes somebody American," he said, "is not just blood or birth, but allegiance to our founding principles."

Flickr user Noah Jacquemin,

Yesterday’s bipartisan Senate proposal to overhaul the immigration system has drawn praise and criticism from both sides of the aisle. In Texas, one question remains: is immigration good or bad for business? 

The proposal from eight U.S. Senators calls for increased border security and a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently in the country.

Saying their proposal would "secure the border, modernize and streamline our current legal immigration system" and create "a tough but fair legalization program for individuals who are currently here," eight senators unveiled a "bipartisan framework for comprehensive immigration reform."

KUT News

The City of Austin has started a new program to welcome foreigners moving to town.

The Welcome to Austin program provides language resources, offers local advice and teaches newcomers how to navigate the city's local schools, law enforcement and public transportation. Here's a look at the agenda.

It's not just any ol' Monday—it's Inauguration Day and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The streak of beautiful weather in Central Texas looks to continue today. The National Weather Service reports we'll get up to a high of 68 with partly sunny skies.

Lead Story: President Barack Obama will be ceremoniously sworn in for his second term this morning. NPR is providing on air coverage on KUT 90.5. Click here for a full list of the day's events.

Locals Head to Washington: The Bailey Middle School Wind Ensemble will represent Texas at the Presidential Inauguration Festival today. Ensemble Director Bill Haehnel is leading the group of sixty-one 12 to 14 year-olds.