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Posts Tagged ‘immigration’

The travel ban and the rural doctor shortage

Just another unintended consequence. In Texas and across the country, foreign-trained doctors like the Iranian-born [Dr. Hossein] Yazdani fill a critical need in rural communities, which often struggle to attract physicians born and trained in the U.S. That reality has been highlighted in the weeks since President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning […]

“Sanctuary cities” bill modified by House committee

It’s less bad than the Senate version, but it’s still not good. A Texas House committee on Wednesday began debate on the lower chamber’s version of the controversial proposal to outlaw “sanctuary” jurisdictions, making few but significant changes to the bill the Senate passed out last month. Outlawing “sanctuary” entities, the common term for state […]

“Texas lives on immigrant labor”

Ain’t that the truth. In Texas, an estimated 400,000 construction workers reside illegally, according to one study. If they were forced to leave the country, contractors say, state construction companies would face a difficult fallout, including higher labor costs, construction delays, and some projects canceled altogether. “Texas lives on immigrant labor,” said Jeff Nielsen, executive […]

Cutting ICE

Another campaign promise gets fulfilled. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez has ended a controversial partnership with federal immigration authorities that trained a team of county deputies to determine the immigration status of jailed suspects and hold those selected for deportation. Gonzalez, a Democrat who took office in January, said he will reassign 10 deputies trained […]

Deportation nation

Appalling. The Trump administration on Tuesday moved one step closer to implementing the president’s plans to aggressively rid the country of undocumented immigrants and expand local police-based enforcement of border security operations. In a fact sheet outlining the efforts, the Department of Homeland Security said that though their top priority is finding and removing undocumented […]

Interview with Bill Kelly

You may have heard that the city of Houston has some legislative business to take care of this session. Most notably, the city wants to get a bill passed to implement its pension reform plans, which may or may not have been complicated by the news that a vote could be required for the city […]

The legal case against the “sanctuary cities” bill

Ken Paxton says that the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill meets legal muster, and the state won’t get sued to smithereens if it passes. Not all lawyers agree with that. The office of the Texas Attorney General can no better predict when the Dallas Cowboys will win the Super Bowl than it can how an appeals […]

Paxton files brief in favor of Muslim ban

Because of course he does. Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an amicus brief Wednesday expressing his support of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, effectively becoming the first state attorney general to back the controversial executive order. Under the executive order, travelers from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya are barred from entering the […]

Houston’s tourism business

People like to spend money here. In particular, people from Mexico like to spend money here. Mexicans are the largest group of international tourists who visit Houston – and recently, their numbers have grown. In 2015, Houston received 2.5 million international tourists, 1.8 million of whom came from Mexico. In 2016, the convention and visitors […]

“Sanctuary cities” bill passes in Senate

As expected. The Texas Senate late Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a controversial immigration measure to ban “sanctuary” jurisdictions in the state. Senate Bill 4, filed by state Sen. Charles Perry, would punish local and state government entities and college campuses that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials or enforce immigration laws. The vote […]

Alternate funding sources

That’s one way to do it. State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, announced plans Friday to raise public funds for Travis County, days after Gov. Greg Abbott canceled about $1.5 million in criminal justice grants over the county’s new “sanctuary” policy. Rodriguez’s initiative is called Travis County #StrongerTogether and it will allow the community to donate […]

Senate “sanctuary cities” bill hearing

Lots of people came out to testify against it, which is a good thing. After a 16-hour hearing that included tears, heckling, bursts of anger and warnings from lawmakers to witnesses to respect the rules of the Capitol’s upper chamber, the Texas Senate’s State Affairs Committee voted 7-2 along party lines early Friday morning to […]

Abbott pulls state grant money to Travis County

As threatened. Gov. Greg Abbott has followed through on his threat to cut off state funding for Travis County over its new “sanctuary” policy. Abbott’s office said Wednesday it has canceled criminal justice grants it usually administers to the county, whose sheriff, Sally Hernandez, recently announced her department would reduce its cooperation with federal immigration […]

Look for the helpers

They’re at the airports now. Luis Ruiz, an immigration attorney with his own practice, set up shop early Sunday at Bush Intercontinental Airport. He’d seen news of attorneys around the country flocking to airports to help people detained under the terms of the executive order President Donald Trump issued Friday, and he figured duty called. […]

Hameed Khalid Darweesh and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq Alshawi

This is who the now-injuncted executive order suspending refugee resettlement and immigration visas from certain countries was supposed to “protect” us from. The lawyers said that one of the Iraqis detained at Kennedy Airport, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, had worked on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq for 10 years. The other, Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq […]

The Observer talks to Rep. Beto O’Rourke

I wish this were longer, and I’d have definitely asked about how he plans to win a Senate election in 2018, if indeed he does run, but it’s worth reading nonetheless. You mentioned how incredibly expensive congressional elections have become. Do you see this as a real barrier to reform? I remember my first official […]

Sheriff Hernandez not backing down

Good for her. Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez indicated Thursday she is not backing away from her recently introduced “sanctuary” policy. Her comments came a day after Gov. Greg Abbott proposed the removal of Hernandez, who announced Friday she would reduce her department’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities when they request an inmate be flagged […]

Abbott goes authoritarian

I suppose this shouldn’t surprise me, but it is still shocking, even in the world we now inhabit. Gov. Greg Abbott said Wednesday that he and state lawmakers will pursue legislation that would “remove from office any officeholder who promotes sanctuary cities,” raising a new consequence as Republicans crack down on local officials who do […]

Abbott versus Travis County

This could get ugly. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is formally demanding that Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez reverse her new policy on cooperation with federal immigration authorities or lose state dollars, further escalating a showdown over “sanctuary cities” that have been in the crosshairs of Republican officials. “This is not a pronouncement of sound public […]

The coming legislative border battle

Here we go again. House Republicans on Wednesday said they aren’t backing away from recent efforts to secure the southern border despite an incoming president who made beefed-up immigration enforcement a hallmark of his campaign. And as a final admonishment of President Obama, they said they intended to bill the federal government more than $2.8 […]

Fifth Circuit hears immigrant harboring lawsuit appeal

This time it’s the state that’s appealing a lower court ruling. A federal appeals court in New Orleans heard oral arguments Wednesday about whether a key portion of Texas’ omnibus border security bill is legal. Lawyers for the state of Texas argued that two landlords, and an immigrant services agency, who sued the state over […]

On welcoming immigrants

Mayor Turner puts out the welcome mat for a key part of Houston’s community. A press conference Monday morning to announce the unveiling of Houston’s Office of New Americans and Immigrant Communities evolved into a denunciation by city officials of President-elect Donald Trump’s rhetoric toward immigrants and refugees. With portraits of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin […]

California is the new Texas

Or will be, as far as litigating against the federal government goes. Gov. Jerry Brown has tabbed Rep. Xavier Becerra to serve as California’s interim attorney general, selecting the Los Angeles Democrat to fill a vacancy opened by the imminent departure of outgoing Attorney General Kamala Harris to the U.S. Senate. Assuming he wins confirmation […]

Two more lawsuit updates

The ban on the transgender bathroom rule remains in place pending appeals. Continued lack of access in public schools to bathrooms matching transgender persons’ gender identity won’t cause them irreparable harm, a Texas federal judge has ruled. U.S. District Reed O’Connor of Wichita Falls, Texas, made that finding Sunday in ruling against two federal executive […]

State moves to withdraw Syrian refugee lawsuit

Good, though at this point it probably doesn’t matter. A week after the state officially withdrewfrom the nation’s refugee resettlement program, Texas has moved to end its legal battle over Syrian refugees. In a short, three-page motion, Texas on Friday asked the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the state’s appeal of a […]

SCOTUS rejects reconsideration of immigration ruling

Alas. The U.S. Supreme Court has declined the Obama administration’s request to reconsider a controversial immigration program that would have let millions of undocumented immigrants stay in the country legally. The program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, would have shielded about 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. It was scheduled […]

Greg Abbott does not speak for all Texans on refugees

Lots of people are moved to offer assistance to those who most need it. Nonprofits that resettle refugees say volunteer turnout has increased — in some cases dramatically — since Texas Republicans first suggested they threatened security. “It’s one of those rare issues where people’s hearts are really united in supporting refugees,” said Chris Kelley, […]

We continue to cower in fear of Syrian refugees

Sheesh. As part of its ongoing fight to keep Syrian refugees out of the state, Texas is threatening to withdraw from the nation’s refugee resettlement program if federal officials refuse to “unconditionally approve” a state plan requiring additional vetting of relocated people. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday said the state had informed the Office […]

State appeals dismissal of anti-refugee lawsuit

Because of course it does. Texas is appealing the dismissal of its lawsuit against the federal government and a refugee resettlement agency over the placement of Syrian refugees in the state. In a notice dated Aug. 12, Texas alerted the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that it would appeal a June decision by Dallas-based […]

State settles birth certificate lawsuit

Good. After undergoing mediation, the state of Texas has reached an agreement with undocumented families in a lawsuit over its denial to issue birth certificates to children born in the U.S. to undocumented immigrants. The state will clarify and expand the types of secondary forms undocumented immigrants can use to prove their identity, according to […]

Can we try this again with nine Justices, please?

Can’t hurt to ask. The Obama administration on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the legality of the president’s controversial immigration enforcement plan, which stalled last month when the high court deadlocked on an appeal. The program, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, was announced […]

SCOTUS punts on immigration order

Ugh. ealing a major blow to President Obama’s controversial executive immigration order, the U.S. Supreme Court announced Thursday it had failed to produce a majority opinion on the policy — meaning that the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals’ November 2015 decision rejecting the policy stands. The program had been blocked in February 2015 by […]

State still resisting refugees

Because of course we are. The federal government wants Texas to accept more than 2,000 additional refugees this year. Texas’ response: No thank you. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is putting the federal government on notice that the state will refuse to take in more refugees than it did last year and will […]

You support Trump, you own Trump

This is what I’m talking about. A group of Democratic state lawmakers from along the Texas-Mexico border is applying pressure to a bank whose CEO is helping raise money for Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. In a letter dated Saturday, Rep. César Blanco, an El Paso Democrat who chairs the House Border Caucus, […]