immigration | KERA News


Refugee advocates and resettlement groups spent a chaotic weekend struggling to adapt on the fly, with families in the air and no official guidance on President Trump's executive order that bans refugees from around the world.

"There's no way to get guidance, nothing is coming down from the top. It was chaos at the airports," says Melanie Nezer, the vice president of policy and advocacy of HIAS, a global Jewish nonprofit that protects and resettles refugees. Her group tried to intervene in individual cases over the weekend.

Surprise and a desire for retaliation are some of the reactions to President Trump's temporary ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on citizens and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries caused chaos at airports around the country — including Dallas-Fort International Airport. 

President Trump's executive order on immigration late Friday ignited nationwide protests — and a slew of legal challenges.

At least four federal judges across the country have blocked part of the order and temporarily ensured refugees and travelers who reached U.S. soil would not be deported.

Here's an explanation of what happened so far and what could come next.

Texas Congressional Delegation Largely Silent On Trump Travel Ban

Jan 29, 2017
Stella M. Chávez / KERA News

WASHINGTON — A lone Republican, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd of Helotes, joined a handful of the Texas delegation's Democrats in challenging President Donald Trump's executive order banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Mayor Mike Rawlings / Twitter

Officials say nine people were released Sunday after they were detained overnight at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport in the wake of President Donald Trump's travel ban barring citizens of seven predominantly Muslim nations from entry into the U.S.

Updated at 7 p.m. ET

By the time the sun rose on Sunday in the U.S., the chaotic weekend set in motion by Trump's executive order on immigration was beginning to give way to greater clarity — in some respects, at least.

Thousands of protesters gathered at airports across the country Saturday to denounce President Trump's recent executive order that barred citizens of seven mostly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, from entering the U.S. for 90 days. The order also temporarily suspended entry to all refugees for 120 days.

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As the Trump administration is expected to overhaul America's immigration system, some policymakers suggest looking north to Canada.

That's because Canadians see immigration as critical to their economic success. The nation has invited in so many immigrants that today, one-fifth of the population is foreign-born.

Yet Canadians don't seem to wrestle with anti-immigrant nativism that has erupted in the U.S. and Europe.

“[A] dangerous game of political Russian roulette.” That’s how Texas Gov. Greg Abbott described Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s immigration policy, which was released Friday. And, this morning, Abbott told Fox News that he's directing lawmakers to draft a bill that would penalize similar policies and threatened to remove Hernandez from office.

From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump called for a “complete shutdown of Muslims” entering the United States during his campaign. He falsely claimed the U.S. has no system to vet refugees seeking to enter the country. He’s also championed creating an “extreme vetting” process for any and all immigrants and visitors to the U.S. – mapping out a three-pronged approach to immigration.


The term “sanctuary city” has become a political lightning rod. Two years ago, Texas lawmakers tried and failed to pass a bill to restrict cities and institutions from being “sanctuaries” for undocumented immigrants.

Viridiana Martinez's parents brought her to the U.S. illegally when she was 7. But it wasn't until she was in her 20s, when she took the microphone at a rally in Durham, N.C., that she "came out" as being unauthorized herself. Martinez, now 30, has been on the front lines of the immigrant rights movement in North Carolina ever since.

When he was in prison, Lorenzo Palma strongly suspected he was an American citizen. He had spent his whole life in the United States, and he knew his grandfather was born in El Paso, Texas, in 1914.

Palma had served five years for an assault conviction and was about to be released on parole, but immigration officials had stopped his release because they wanted to deport him. They said he wasn't a U.S. citizen.

President-elect Donald Trump says he will double the nation's growth rate during his time in office. That promise will be difficult to keep.

Trump isn't talking about a temporary boost in growth. He says he can make the economy grow in the long term at a rate of about 4 percent a year.

The U.S. Supreme Court takes up important immigration questions Wednesday, even as President-elect Donald Trump talks of pushing for more deportations. The legal issue before the court tests whether people who are detained for more than six months have a right to a bond hearing.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick recently released his top 10 priorities for the 2017 legislative session. And now with several hundred bills filed, we have some glimpses of how he plans to meet his goals.

Immigrant 'Dreamers' Fear Deportation Nightmare Under Trump

Nov 10, 2016
Gabriel Cristóver Pérez for The Texas Tribune

Of all the people worried about a Donald Trump presidency, few are freaking out more than the young undocumented immigrants who were granted relief from deportation under President Barack Obama's 2012 executive order.

A Young Immigrant's Experience In America

Oct 13, 2016

Isaias Ramos came to the U.S. with his parents when he was 8 years old, got good grades and then had to decide what to do after high school. On Think, Krys Boyd talked with journalist Daniel Connolly about his experience

We Asked Immigrants: What Does It Mean To Be An American

Oct 12, 2016
Jeremiah Jensen/KERA News

This week, as a part of NPR’s “A Nation Engaged” project, member stations across the country are talking about what it means to be an American.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

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.

Michael Stravato / Shelby Tauber / Texas Tribune

The election is six weeks away, but if registered Texans had to vote now, most would choose Donald Trump. The margin is narrow, though.

In Austin, Trump Says He's Open To 'Softening' In Immigration Laws

Aug 23, 2016
Scott Ball / Texas Tribune

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump says he is open to a "softening" in laws dealing with people who are in the country illegally, offering a pivot away from the hardline immigration views he espoused throughout the primaries. 

Texas Reaches Agreement With Families In Birth Certificate Case

Jul 25, 2016
Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune graphic

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.


A border wall between the U.S.-Mexico border has been a major focus of Donald Trump’s campaign. However, a new poll suggests people living in border cities oppose that idea.

Gus Contreras / KERA News

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision essentially blocking President Obama’s plan to help millions of immigrants attain legal status, dozens of protesters gathered in downtown Dallas for a march to City Hall.

Reacting to a deadlocked Supreme Court, President Obama said the ball is now in the court of the American voters when it comes to immigration.

Stella M. Chavez / KERA News

A tie vote by the Supreme Court is blocking President Barack Obama's immigration plan that sought to shield millions living in the U.S. illegally from deportation.