immigration

Politics
12:41 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Texas Rep. Gohmert Sole Vote to Keep 'Lunatic' in Federal Law

Rep. Gohmert defended the word "lunatic" on the House floor.
gohmert.house.gov

Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to modernize archaic legal language by striking the term “lunatic” from federal law. The measure passed resoundingly, with only one vote against: conservative East Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert.

Former Austin scribe Jennifer Bendery writes for Huffington Post that while Gohmert’s office didn’t expand upon the representative’s vote, his words in the House chamber provided some context:

"To keep spending and not pay the price, that is immoral," Gohmert said. "That's why we shouldn't eliminate the word 'lunatic.' It really has application around this town. … We want to eliminate the word 'lunatic' from the federal code?" Gohmert asked. "That's lunacy."

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Immigration
3:02 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

George W. Bush: 'Benevolent Spirit' Can Guide Debate

Former President George W. Bush speaks at the "topping out" ceremony at the construction site of the George Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University on October 3, 2011.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

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.

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.

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Immigration
12:39 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

An Overture To Latinos, GOP-Controlled House Passes Immigration Bill

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), speaks at the Conservative Political Action conference in February.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 12:44 pm

One of the big questions that arose out of the November general election is how Republicans would pivot to close the astonishing gap in the Latino vote.

Hispanics voted for President Obama instead of Gov. Mitt Romney by a 71-to-27 percent margin. That kind of lopsided result immeditately changed the minds of many Republicans on immigration reform.

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Politics
5:19 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

McCaul to Be Named Chair of Homeland Security Committee

U.S. Rep Michael McCaul (R-Austin)
Ed Schipul Texas Tribune

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, will be named the chairman of the powerful House Committee on Homeland Security later today, Republican sources have confirmed. 

McCaul, who currently chairs the subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Management and is also a member of the subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, 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.

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Politics
4:06 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Money, Marriage and a Mortgage: The Formula For More Voters

Then-candidate Barack Obama addresses an Austin crowd in 2008. While the 2008 election saw an increase in young voters, still roughly half of voters 29 and under turned out.
KUT News

Could you create a mathematical formula to increase voter turnout?

The idea may sound far-fetched. But Travis County clerk Dana DeBeauvoir has an idea on what it might look like.

“It has to do with how well each voter is connected to their local community,” DeBeauvoir tells KUT News. “For example: Do you own a house? That’s a point. Do you have children in school? That’s a point. All of those add up.  And it turns out that people that have the most points of connection with their community are the people who vote.”

DeBeauvoir notes those variables are “roughly all about how old you are. It takes a while to get connected.” And those factors may have a lot to do with why young Texans are sitting out elections.

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Immigration
4:48 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Young Illegal Immigrants Seek Work Permits

Carlos Martinez, 30, shows off his new work permit, which he received after applying for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Mamta Popat Arizona Daily Star

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 4:54 pm

It's been more than a month since the government began accepting requests for its Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Obama administration's policy for young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Hundreds of thousands of people are eligible for the program. So far, only 82,000 have applied.

Carlos Martinez is one of the 29 people who have actually gotten deferrals. It means that he won't be deported, and that he can get a work permit. Martinez applied for the deferred action program the first day.

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AM Update: 9/19/12
8:57 am
Wed September 19, 2012

AM Update: Immigrant Housing Law Under Review, Huston-Tillotson Grant, Rain Helps Edwards Aquifer

A panel of judges at the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in Louisiana is set to review a Texas immigration case today.
flickr.com/wallyg

The first day of autumn is still a few days away but Central Texas is already enjoying more fall-like temperatures thanks to a weak cold front. Here's a look at today's morning headlines:

Appeals Court to Review Immigration Housing Law

The 5th Circuit US Court of appeals is set to review a proposed law that would ban illegal immigrants from renting homes in Farmer’s Branch, a suburb of Dallas.

The law requires that all renters in Farmer’s Branch fill out paperwork proving their immigration status.  Illegal immigrants could be denied housing or be evicted from their current home. Under the law, landlords who knowingly continue rent to illegal immigrants would be subject to fines and revocation of their renter’s license.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund sued the city to prevent the law from being enforced. A district court ruled that the law was unconstitutional on the grounds that regulating immigration law is a federal prerogative.  A three-judge panel from the US 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the district court’s decision in March. The full membership of the court will review the earlier decision today.

Huston-Tillotson Gets Nearly $2 Million Grant

Huston-Tillotson University in Austin is getting more than $1.9 million in federal funding.

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Health
1:28 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

First Person: At Risk of Hunger

Southeast Austin resident Maria Del Rasario Ramirez has lived and worked in the United States for twenty years, and she is one of 162,440 people in Travis County at risk of hunger, according to an estimate by Feeding America. As an undocumented immigrant, she is ineligible to receive food stamps, but she does receive benefits for her granddaughter, whom she is raising.

The food stamps program – officially called the Supplemental Food Assistance Program (SNAP) – makes up the largest portion of the trillion dollar Farm Bill, which expires at the end of the month. The Democratic-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House have been debating how much to cut the program. The Senate wants $4.5 billion in SNAP cuts. The House is calling for $16.5 billion.

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Immigration
7:58 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Lawyers: Approved Deferred Action Applicants Can Get IDs

Jacob Villanueva, Texas Tribune

Immigration lawyers and legal scholars say applicants who are approved for deferred action 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.

Gov. Rick Perry on Monday issued a memo to state agencies reminding them that despite the federal policy that allows some illegal immigrants a two-year reprieve from deportation and a renewable work permit, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, Texas' policies on individuals in the country illegally remain unchanged.

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.

“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 Greg Abbott dated Aug. 16.

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Politics
4:17 pm
Thu August 9, 2012

Ahead of Election, GOP Assails Democrats on Immigration

Dream Act supporters outside of the W hotel at President Obama's fundraiser on May 10, 2011.
Jacob Villanueva, Texas Tribune

new ad in toss-up state Nevada warns Hispanic voters that a vote for President Obama is a vote for the “deporter-in-chief” — an incumbent who fell short on his campaign promise to enact immigration reform.

"Since he took office, President Obama has broken up hundreds of thousands of families through a policy of massive deportations,” Alfonso Aguilar, the executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, said in a news release. “He has been hoodwinking the American people, deploring the Arizona and Georgia immigration laws as bad laws, while deporting more immigrants than any modern president.” 

The ad, paid for by the conservative nonprofit American Principles in Action, is part of a larger strategy by Republicans to challenge the perception that Democrats are friendlier toward immigrants than they are.

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Immigration
7:27 am
Mon August 6, 2012

Feds Announce Details on Deferred Action

KUT News

Immigrants brought to the country illegally by their parents will likely not face prosecution or other repercussions — and neither will their families — if they apply for a new federal program that allows them to avoid deportation, federal officials said Friday.

Under a policy shift announced in June, certain illegal immigrants beginning Aug. 15 can apply for what the government calls deferred action. It would release them from deportation proceedings and allow them to apply for work permits. The renewable status will last two years.

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.

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AM Update 7/26/12
8:25 am
Thu July 26, 2012

AM Update: Fire Dept. Hiring Spree, Unlawful Immigration Services, Juvenile Transfers Continue

A new grant will allow AFD to hire dozens of firefighters.
KUT News

AFD Gets Money to Hire More Firefighters

The Austin Fire Department is getting more than $5 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to hire 36 firefighters.

The FEMA grant will help AFD staff four people on every engine – that’s the standard set by the National Fire Protection Agency.

The money will cover the salaries of the firefighters for the first two years. AFD will take over the cost in year three.

Austin Organization Charged With Providing Unlawful Services

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has charged an Austin group with providing unlawful immigration services and defrauding its clients.

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Police
10:07 am
Mon July 23, 2012

13 Dead in South Texas Pickup Truck Crash

A truck carrying 23 passengers crashed in South Texas Sunday night, killing 13.
Courtesy Texas Department of Public Safety

Thirteen people are reported dead and 10 others injured, after a pickup truck carrying 23 passengers crashed into a tree in South Texas Sunday evening.

“This is the most people I've seen in any passenger vehicle, and I've been an officer for 38 years,” Gerald Bryant, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety told the Associated Press.

Officials believe the passengers may be illegal immigrants. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol Agents were called in to assist with the investigation. “It's unknown whether or not (the victims) were illegal, but it's possible,” Bryant told the AP.

Austin police have noted the popularity of similar trucks in the transport of undocumented immigrants before.

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Law
8:54 am
Thu July 19, 2012

Controversial Ariz. Sheriff's Tactics Go On Trial

A trial begins Thursday in Phoenix accusing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, seen in this May 3, 2010, file photo, of violating the civil rights of Latino citizens and legal U.S. residents.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 9:04 am

The self-proclaimed "Toughest Sheriff in America" is facing one of his toughest tests. A trial begins Thursday morning in Phoenix accusing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of violating the civil rights of Latino citizens and legal U.S. residents. The class-action civil suit says the sheriff went over the line in his efforts to crack down on illegal immigration.

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Immigration
5:14 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

Key Tenet of Arizona Immigration Law Upheld, Others Struck

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a key provision of Arizona’s controversial immigration law that requires police officers to verify the legal status of people they stop or arrest. But it struck down much of the rest of the bill, including a measure that would have make it a crime for unauthorized immigrants to work. 

The long-awaited decision in Arizona v. United States could prompt other states to craft their own versions of Arizona's SB 1070, signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer in 2010. But they'd have to do it narrowly, according to Monday's Supreme Court ruling. 

Though justices upheld the “papers, please” provision, several other provisions of the bill were struck down. Those include a section of the law that makes it a crime if an immigrant fails to carry proof of legal status; a provision that makes it a crime for an unauthorized immigrant to work, apply for work or solicit work; and a provision that would have allowed police to stop and arrest anyone whom they believe to be an illegal immigrant.

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Immigration
9:56 am
Mon June 25, 2012

Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Provisions Of Arizona Immigration Law

Waiting for word: The U.S. Supreme Court building.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 25, 2012 1:13 pm

Update at 10:21 a.m. ET. Strikes Down Key Provisions Of Immigration Law:

The United States Supreme Court invalidated three of four challenged provisions of Arizona's controversial immigration law. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion.

The high court upheld the part of the law that asked police to check the immigration status of those stopped for another violation.

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Immigration
3:35 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Polls: Obama's Immigration Changes Get Broad Voter Support

President Obama talks about his decision to stop deporting some young immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 3:01 pm

Early indications suggest President Obama has a majority of voters on his side with his decision to defer deportation proceedings for young illegal immigrants who meet certain conditions.

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Politics
8:51 am
Mon June 18, 2012

President Obama's Immigration Shift Could Bolster Latino Support In November

Supporters of President Obama's announcement on immigration policy rally outside the White House Friday.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Fri June 29, 2012 3:00 pm

President Obama's decision to stop deporting young, otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants could help rebuild his support among electorally important Latinos after 18 months of futile efforts, some activists said Friday.

"There is overwhelming support for the protection of these children, as there is in the rest of the country. I think this could have an energizing effect on Latino voters," says Clarissa Martinez del Castro, director of immigration and national campaigns for National Council of La Raza.

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Immigration
4:09 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

With DREAM Order, Obama Did What Presidents Do: Act Without Congress

President Obama on Friday announced he was using his executive power to give some young illegal immigrants the right to stay longer in the United States.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 12:12 pm

President Obama's announcement Friday that he is using his executive authority to defer deportation proceedings for young immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally but meet certain requirements was just the latest example of the president's use of his power to act without Congress on policy issues.

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Immigration
11:05 am
Fri June 15, 2012

DHS to Grant Relief for Some Young Illegal Immigrants

A boy waves an American flag at an immigration rally held in Dallas on May Day.
Caleb Bryant Miller, Texas Tribune

The Obama administration announced Friday that, effective immediately, it will begin issuing work permits and grant relief from deportation to certain illegal immigrants brought to the country before they were 16 years old and are currently younger than 30.

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