Texas Legislature tries again with bills making illegal border crossings a state crime
Immigration experts say the most recent proposals would raise constitutional challenges in the U.S. and Mexico, as federal courts have repeatedly ruled that immigration law enforcement falls under federal jurisdiction.
Fighting between legislative leaders imperils Texas border security bills
The governor, lieutenant governor and House speaker generally agree on building more border barriers and making illegal border crossings a state crime. But disagreements over strategy and personal animosity mean those measures face long odds this special legislative session.
State Senate approves bill to spend $1.5 billion for border walls, more policing of Liberty County development
Along with the money to build more border barriers, Senate Bill 6 would devote $49 million to beef up law enforcement of the Colony Ridge development that’s become a target of far-right media.
Federal judge orders immigration agents to stop removing Texas’ concertina wire on the border
Border Patrol agents have cut through the state’s wire to free migrants or take them into custody. Judge Alia Moses will hear arguments from Texas and the Biden administration next week to determine whether her temporary order will continue past Nov. 13.
How Texas lawmakers are trying to deter illegal immigration and secure the border
Two Texas House members and an immigration lawyer sat down with Matthew Watkins, the Tribune’s managing editor of news and politics, to discuss the current state of Texas’ border and immigration bills that lawmakers are weighing during the special session.
Biden administration settles lawsuit over Trump-era migrant family separation policy
If the settlement is approved, the federal government would be prohibited from adopting a similar policy for the next eight years. Affected immigrants would be allowed to be in the country legally and receive work permits and other benefits.
Lawmakers call for federal investigation into Texas Guard intel ring
The lawmakers’ remarks came after an investigation published Tuesday by Military Times and The Texas Tribune revealed how Texas Guardsmen at the state’s border with Mexico spied on migrants via WhatsApp and allegedly mishandled secret documents.
Texas National Guard disbanded intelligence wing after members used WhatsApp to spy on migrants
Four members of the unit working on Gov. Greg Abbott’s border mission have been punished after whistleblowers reported the surveillance operation violated long-standing rules against state-run spy operations.
State investigating claim that DPS troopers were told to push migrants back into the Rio Grande and deny them water
The Office of the Inspector General is investigating the claims, which include pushing small children and women with nursing babies back into the river and turning away a 4-year-old girl who later passed out on the riverbank from the heat.
Dan Patrick says Senate won’t budge on property tax relief — but there’s no House to negotiate with
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick says the Senate won’t accept a property tax relief bill the lower chamber left behind before adjourning for the special session. An anti-migrant smuggling bill also appears imperiled.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection investigation finds multiple failings in the death of 8-year-old girl in federal custody
After discovering that contracted medical staff ignored the mother’s pleas to take the girl to the hospital as her condition declined, the federal agency said it is taking action to ensure an in-custody death “never happens again.”
After Title 42’s end, Texas DPS pauses Austin patrols so officers can head to the border
Despite no major influx in border crossings, state troopers will be relocated to border cities. Austin and the Texas Department of Public Safety faced criticism for the racial disparities in state trooper arrests in the capital.
Border didn’t see a “major influx” of migrants when Title 42 ended, federal official says
Although migrants lined up by the hundreds in El Paso and other border crossings as the public health order was winding down, a Biden administration official said there wasn’t a rush to the border when Title 42 was lifted.
In the final hours of Title 42, migrants line up and border cities brace for the unknown
Long lines formed again next to the border wall in El Paso — a scene repeated in other parts of the southern border — as migrants anticipated the end of a policy that has allowed immigration agents to quickly expel them.
Family of dead National Guardsman urges Legislature to make death benefits bill named for him retroactive
While the state guarantees law enforcement officers, like Department of Public Safety troopers, a $500,000 death benefit for their families if they die on duty, National Guard troops who stand shoulder to shoulder with those DPS officers on Operation Lone Star don’t have the same benefit.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn eyes the seemingly impossible: a bipartisan deal on immigration
Riding the success of his historic congressional session last year where he helped pass the first gun safety bill signed into law in a generation, Cornyn is hopeful that his ability to strike deals across the aisle will help Congress achieve another elusive legislative goal: an immigration deal.
The fringe ideology of “constitutional sheriffs” is attracting believers within Texas law enforcement
Some 50 Texas sheriffs and numerous elected officials have attended trainings on the unsupported notion that sheriffs can single-handedly overrule state and federal law. The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, which offered state peace officers credit for the seminars, is now investigating.
Buses from Texas drop off more than 100 migrants in a bitterly cold Washington, D.C., on Christmas Eve
Gov. Greg Abbott reportedly sent the migrants, who arrived at Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence Saturday night. The governor has been busing migrants to Democratic-let cities since April and first sent buses to Harris’ home in September.
With rifles and razor wire, National Guard and state troopers are blocking migrants at the border in El Paso
As cities on the Texas-Mexico border continue preparing for a possible influx of migrants and Title 42 remains in limbo, a shallow spot in the Rio Grande where thousands have recently crossed became the scene of a standoff Monday.
Anticipating a surge in border crossings amid cold temperatures, El Paso declares a state of emergency
With Title 42 ending Wednesday, El Paso officials expect the number of migrants crossing the border could double. Declaring a state of emergency should open more options to provide migrants shelter from below-freezing temperatures.
After a Texas National Guard member died, his family got no financial payment. Lawmakers want to change that.
In April, Bishop Evans drowned after jumping into the Rio Grande to save two migrants being swept away by the current. His family members will receive no financial payment, but they would if he worked for DPS or was under federal deployment.
In El Paso, migrants are sleeping on the streets after thousands crossed the border last weekend
A Nicaraguan fisherman planned to spend the night in a parking garage with other migrants, then a good Samaritan offered him a place to sleep. The city is struggling to handle a sudden influx of migrants that has overwhelmed local resources.
An Afghan soldier fleeing the Taliban spent months reaching the U.S. to request asylum. He was arrested at the Texas border.
Abdul Wasi Safi was trying to reach his brother, who immigrated legally to Houston after helping the U.S. military. Legal experts say Wasi may have to serve a criminal sentence before he can pursue asylum.
Gov. Greg Abbott embraces “invasion” language about border, evoking memories of El Paso massacre
In the days since Abbott was reelected for a third term, he has embraced the word like never before, using it in a letter to President Joe Biden, echoing the intensifying language many Republicans have adopted in recent years.
U.S. can’t quickly expel migrants under pandemic-era health rule, federal judge says
Title 42 was invoked early in the pandemic by the Trump administration and continued under President Joe Biden. Since then, immigration officials have used it more than 2 million times to turn away asylum-seekers at the border.
Border Patrol reports 2.4 million migrant arrests at southwest border this year, the most ever
The historic pace of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has fueled Republicans’ focus on the crisis, but despite the efforts of Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star, encounters in Texas have increased.
Gov. Greg Abbott acknowledges New York City mayor’s office reached out about migrant busing efforts
Abbott previously said Eric Adams’ office had not reached out to him about coordinating migrant arrivals in New York City and faced criticism that he was rebuffing efforts from the mayor to communicate.
Migrant encounters at the border are higher today than they were before Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star began
The number of migrant encounters at the Texas-Mexico border has climbed from 109,456 in March 2021, the month the mission began, to 116,976 in August — a failure of Abbott’s office’s stated desire to “stop this revolving door and deter others considering entering illegally.”
Fight over border security escalates after governors send migrants to Kamala Harris’ home and Martha’s Vineyard
The latest moves by Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this week have triggered outrage among immigration rights’ groups and Democrats who have accused the Republicans of engaging in human trafficking and treating migrants like “human cargo” to score political points.
ACLU calls on feds to investigate Abbott’s policy transporting migrants back to border
In July, Abbott authorized state law enforcement to transport migrants to ports of entry. It’s unclear how and why migrants are being detained, raising civil rights concerns and questions about whether the state is overstepping federal authority.
Texas troopers are causing car chase fatalities and racially profiling drivers under Abbott’s border crackdown, complaint claims
Two civil rights groups have expanded their request for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into Operation Lone Star, citing evidence of risky pursuits and more frequent traffic stops of Hispanic drivers.
Gov. Greg Abbott spends an additional $30 million on Operation Lone Star to aid local governments
Abbott announced that his already $4 billion border mission would provide grant funding for cities and counties, following a press conference by some local officials calling on the governor to take more drastic action to secure the border.
Cash is piling up in Kinney County from bonds posted to free migrants arrested under Texas border crackdown
Friends, families and attorneys have posted more than $2 million to get migrants out of prison. Defense attorneys say the rural county is erecting barriers that will keep many from recovering the money when they’re entitled to it.
A minor trespassing case gives Gov. Greg Abbott’s border initiative its first courtroom win
The trial included four prosecutors, and so many potential jurors were summoned the town sandwich shop was shorthanded for lunch. But a Kinney County jury Monday convicted a Honduran national in the first jury trial for trespassing under Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star.
Gov. Greg Abbott redirects $500 million from other agencies to fund border security mission through end of fiscal year
Abbott said the money would be taken from the budgets of other Texas agencies, including nearly $210 million from the state’s Health and Human Services Commission over two years and about $160 million from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
New federal lawsuit seeks to halt Texas’ border trespassing arrests, give more than $5 million to illegally detained migrants
Thousands of men have been arrested on trespassing charges under Gov. Greg Abbott’s border crackdown. A new lawsuit claims the attempt to skirt federal immigration authority is unconstitutional.
Texas soldier who drowned trying to help migrants wasn’t equipped with flotation device
Spc. Bishop Evans died after jumping into the Rio Grande to save migrants. He and other members of Operation Lone Star were not provided safety equipment. Texas Military Department said an order for buoys and ropes was made but has not been fulfilled.
Beto O’Rourke carefully threads needle on border policy as Democrats grapple with the issue
For Democrats, especially in Texas, tackling border issues is difficult on the campaign trail as the party is not in agreement about various policies. O’Rourke has had to distance himself from President Joe Biden’s border policies, while going after Gov. Greg Abbott’s.
Abbott ends inspections that clogged commercial traffic at U.S.-Mexico border for more than a week
The deals Abbott made with three of the four Mexican border governors don’t include any new security measures south of the border. Abbott threatened to restart the inspections if Mexican states don’t slow migration to Texas.
Gov. Greg Abbott announces deals with two more Mexican governors to halt Texas’ vehicle inspections at the border
The announcements come a day after Abbott reached a similar deal with Nuevo León’s governor, who agreed to add security at a major border bridge in exchange for an end to increased vehicle inspections by Texas troopers.