immigration | KERA News

immigration

Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio

An audio recording that appears to capture the heartbreaking voices of small Spanish-speaking children crying out for their parents at a U.S. immigration facility took center stage Monday in the growing uproar over the Trump administration's policy of separating immigrant children from their parents.

Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio

This story was updated at 6 p.m. CST Tuesday.

Dallas County has gotten the "green light" from federal officials to potentially house immigrant children separated from their parents who entered the country illegally, County Judge Clay Jenkins says.

County officials will offer a list of possible shelters to the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Federal authorities would visit the sites and select ones deemed suitable.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz announced emergency legislation Monday evening to keep immigrant families together after they cross the border into the United States.

Updated at 7:20 p.m. ET

House Republican leaders are reworking their "compromise" immigration bill to include a provision that modifies — but doesn't completely end — the "zero tolerance" policy being enforced now by the Trump administration.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Laura Bush, the former first lady of the U.S. and of Texas, called the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy of separating immigrant children from their parents "cruel" in an op-ed published in the Washington Post Sunday evening. 

"It breaks my heart," she wrote. 

Updated at 7:55 p.m. ET

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is continuing to defend the Trump administration's controversial "zero tolerance" policy that results in separating children from their parents who enter the U.S. illegally.

Nielsen appeared at the White House press briefing on Monday, falsely blaming Democrats for the current crisis and arguing that the impetus is on Congress to pass a law to close legal loopholes.

Updated at 4:28 p.m. ET

The Trump administration's decision to separate children from their families as a way to curb illegal immigration is adding fuel to an already fiery debate over immigration.

A group of House Democrats converged on an immigration detention facility in New Jersey on Sunday, days before a planned vote by House Republicans next week. Meanwhile, Trump administration officials alternately took credit and sought to distance the administration from the family separation policy.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

With chants of "families united" and "free our children now," hundreds of people marched to the tent city in Tornillo, Texas, where children have been detained for immigration violations.

The Father's Day march near El Paso was primarily organized by Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas, who is also running for Senate against Ted Cruz. He says the march was the brainchild of Veronica Escobar, who is running to fill his seat in the House, as well as other community leaders.

A Trump administration policy of separating children from their parents on the U.S. border has prompted a crescendo of criticism among religious leaders.

They span different faiths, denominations and ages. Some of them have also helped the president gain support for his base.

The Department of Homeland Security says 1,995 minors were separated from their "alleged adult guardians" at the southern border in just over a monthlong period.

A DHS spokesman said the separations occurred between April 19 and the end of May under the administration's relatively new "zero tolerance" policy, in which parents have also been arrested.

The Berduo family traveled nearly 2,000 miles from Guatemala to the international bridge between Matamoros, Mexico, and Brownsville, Texas, but they could go no further.

Under a new policy, federal border agents stationed in the middle of international bridges are turning away asylum seekers like the Berduos, telling them there is no room in U.S. Customs and Border Protection stations for them.

Updated at 5:43 p.m. ET

President Trump took Capitol Hill by surprise on Friday morning when he said that he would not sign a House GOP immigration bill — only to reverse course later in the day.

"I'm looking at both of them. I certainly wouldn't sign the more moderate one," Trump told Fox News in a previously unannounced interview on the White House lawn.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible to explain why the Trump administration has launched a policy of separating families seeking illegal entry into the United States.

"I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order," Sessions said during a speech to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Gabriel C. Perez / KUT

The Trump administration has selected Tornillo Land Point of Entry, a crossing point along the Texas-Mexico border near El Paso, as the site of its first temporary shelter for immigrant children separated from their parents under the administration's "zero tolerance" policy, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson confirmed Thursday.

From Texas Standard.

South Texas is ground zero for a fight to end DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The Trump administration has tried to end it, but twice, courts have ruled that the administration can’t do that. Now DACA opponents are trying a different legal maneuver – Texas and six other states have sued the federal government. The Trump Justice Department’s not putting up a fight, which could mean the end of DACA.

Updated at 5:14 p.m. ET

House Republicans plan to vote next week on a pair of immigration bills, including one that would end the Trump administration's practice of separating children from their parents at the Southwest border.

Republican leaders released a draft version of the bill Thursday after House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters he does not support the "zero tolerance" policy that was implemented as a result of a court decision. In the House GOP proposal released Thursday there is a provision ending the policy.

Updated 6:35 p.m.

A 36-year-old Laredo man has been charged with human smuggling after 54 immigrants were found Tuesday night in a refrigerated trailer on the northeast side of San Antonio, near Broadway and Loop 410. It’s the third time a trailer carrying migrants in the country illegally was found in the Alamo City since last July.


House Speaker Paul Ryan's office announced late Tuesday a vote on two immigration bills next week to address the legal status of people brought to the U.S. as children.

Specific details of the two bills will be released Wednesday morning. They are aimed at appeasing the ideological wings of the House GOP. One is expected to be a more conservative measure preferred by the House Freedom Caucus, and the other a more moderate one supported by more centrist Republicans.

Updated at 12:23 p.m. ET

House Republicans huddled for hours Thursday morning in another attempt to find party unity on an issue that divides the GOP like no other: immigration.

The meeting concluded with little tangible progress toward a final bill, but Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters there was agreement within the House GOP that they would continue to work on a bill that addressed "four pillars" of immigration policy outlined earlier this year by the White House. Ryan said that is "the most optimistic, plausible chance of getting [a bill] into law."

Lawmakers return to Capitol Hill this week to confront an unplanned and unpredictable immigration debate. Republicans and Democrats alike believe the outcome could be a decisive factor for voters in elections this November that will determine control of Congress.

A divided House GOP Conference will hold a closed-door session on Thursday to build a strategy around immigration legislation scheduled for the floor the third week of June — a deal promised to the rank-and-file by reluctant GOP leaders before the Memorial Day break.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the administration's "zero tolerance" policy that calls for separating families who cross the border illegally, saying the undocumented immigrants shouldn't get special treatment.

"That's no different than what we do every day in every part of the United States — when an adult of a family commits a crime," she told NPR. "If you as a parent break into a house, you will be incarcerated by police and thereby separated from your family."

A small group of House Republicans began gathering support Wednesday for a plan to force votes on immigration legislation as early as this summer, despite protests from party leaders.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Monday that the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security will partner to prosecute anyone illegally crossing the southwest border and separate children from parents.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has asked a court to stop the federal government from issuing or renewing DACA permits while a lawsuit Texas filed yesterday with six other states is pending.

The Trump administration regularly asserts that undocumented immigrants are predatory and threaten public safety. Immigrant advocates say that talk demonizes an entire class of people.

Now, four academic studies show that illegal immigration does not increase the prevalence of violent crime or drug and alcohol problems. In the slew of research, motivated by Trump's rhetoric, social scientists set out to answer this question: Are undocumented immigrants more likely to break the law?

Marjorie Kamys Cotera

Following through on a months-old promise, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Tuesday that Texas has filed a lawsuit to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, leading a seven-state coalition to fight an Obama-era immigration measure that protects from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants nationwide, including more than 100,000 in Texas.

Updated at 8 a.m. ET

A few of the nearly 200 migrants from Central America who traveled by caravan through Mexico to the U.S. border crossing at San Diego have been allowed to apply for asylum.

Eight migrants — three women, four children and an 18-year-old — who said they were fleeing violence in their home countries were allowed through the gate at the border separating Tijuana, Mexico, from San Diego on Monday evening, according to caravan organizers.

Updated 9:57 p.m. ET

AP Photo/Felix Marquez

About 170 migrants in a caravan of Central American asylum-seekers have arrived in Tijuana, Mexico, joining about nearly 200 others on their final stop before entering the United States.

Three tourist buses were guarded by a Mexican police escort on a curvy, mountainous road from the Mexican border city of Mexicali.

During intense arguments at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, the justices, by a narrow margin, seemed to be leaning toward upholding the third and current version of the Trump travel ban.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is often the deciding vote in closely contested cases, for example, made repeated comments suggesting that the court does not usually second-guess a president's national security decisions — even in the context of an immigration law that bans discrimination based on nationality.

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