Texas Likely to Sue Obama Over Immigration

Gage Skidmore
Plotting his final act as attorney general.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, soon to make his home in the governor's mansion, says the "odds are in favor" of Texas suing the federal government to prevent the implementation of President Obama's proposed executive or to stop the deportation of certain undocumented immigrant who have been in the country for more than five years.

"The president has crossed the line from politics to endangering the constitutional structure," Abbott said Monday afternoon.

The United States' immigration system is broken, Abbott acknowledged, but an "executive fiat" is not the way to fix i. The president is not exercising prosecutorial discretion, the attorney general argued, because the number of people affected is so large. If Obama's action is allowed, Abbott suggested that a future Republican president could similarly act on things like taxes and environmental regulations.

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Unaccompanied Immigrant Kids Are Still Coming into Texas

Categories: Immigration

Thumbnail image for Bestia.jpg
Kids were coming into the U.S. via the infamous train, La Bestia, by the thousands this summer. What about now?

It's been a few months since Clay Jenkins ceremoniously announced that, because rates of unaccompanied immigrant children coming into Texas had ebbed, there was no longer a need for a local shelter. Has the influx remained low?

See also: Dallas County Will Not Shelter Thousands of Central American Kids After All

Experts agree that the flow of immigrants seems to slow when the weather is either too hot or too cold to make the already dangerous crossland trip. Which is why, if rates were lower in the middle of August, we can expect them to be low throughout the winter months.

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DFW Congregations Offer Sanctuary to Prevent Low-Priority Deportations

Categories: Immigration

ICE officials attempting to deport a family from a church.

If you hear the word "sanctuary" and think of the scene in The Hunchback of Notre Dame in which Esmeralda pleads with the cathedral priest for shelter (or, be honest, you think of Logan's Run), you might be surprised to learn that actual sanctuaries are a growing movement in many congregations across the country. Over 70 Christian and Jewish congregations have expressed support in the last year for sheltering undocumented immigrants scheduled for deportation.

The movement was prompted by a 2011 Immigration and Customs Enforcement memo which detailed that immigration arrests should not be conducted, unless there is a severe imminent threat, in "sensitive locations" -- which includes schools, hospitals and churches. And so far, immigration enforcement officials seem to respect the boundary.

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Entrepreneurs and Educated Workers Changing the Face of Texas' Immigrant Population

Categories: Immigration


After being inundated with images of poverty stricken unaccompanied Central American children this summer, you might be surprised to learn that the stereotype of the poor working class immigrant is rapidly changing in Texas. The growing demographic, it turns out, are educated and highly skilled -- and the Texas economy is increasingly dependent on their money.

The Center for Public Policy Priorities released a report last week that pointed out the economic virility of the immigrant workforce. Small immigrant-owned businesses brought in $4.4 billion in revenue to the Texas economy last fiscal year.

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One Grown-Up Immigrant Adjusts to American Life Post-Honduras -- For Now

Categories: Immigration

Walking the Tracks
Oscar Ramirez fled Honduran gangs when he was 21, and says the United States is the only place he now feels safe.

Oscar Ramirez looks older than his 30 years. He is reserved and wears a simple blue button-down shirt and jeans. His skin is weathered, and crow's feet frame his dark brown eyes. His nails are bitten down, and his arms are sporadically etched with small, thin scars. Life has been hard for him.

He grew up in a small Honduran village, and has been slowly adjusting to life in the United States since his immigration. His stories of life in Honduras, his journey to the United States, and his life here are common anecdotes within the Honduran-American immigrant community.

See also: Rocket Dockets for Kids in Immigration Courts Raise Doubts About Fairness

Ramirez was educated through the sixth grade, but after leaving school he was almost immediately targeted for gang membership. He says that's something a lot of people don't understand about Honduran gangs -- they target young people, who are less likely to be caught performing petty thefts, robberies, even murder. Young people are more easily manipulated by veteran gang members.

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Rocket Dockets for Kids in Immigration Courts Raise Doubts About Fairness

Categories: Immigration

Increasingly speedy court processes for unaccompanied kids is leading some lawyers to nickname downtown Dallas' juvenile immigration cases "rocket dockets."

Last week, we told you about 13-year-old Gaby, who was given an order of deportation from immigration Judge Michael Baird. Gaby is from Honduras, and will be sent back this fall after having been in the United States for less than a year. Her court appearances will have taken place in the course of just over a month, a dramatically hastened process from juvenile cases even a year ago.

See also: In Dallas' Time-Crunched Immigration Court, a Mom Watches Her Teen Daughter Get Deported

It's an effect immigration lawyers are calling rocket dockets. And it's primarily affecting all those unaccompanied kids from Central America pouring into Dallas that you've been hearing so much about.

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Dreamers Out in Droves For 2-Year Anniversary of DACA

Categories: Immigration

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was implemented you years ago to benefit young adult immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

A line of people was snaking around the back of the office building by the time Catholic Charities staff rolled in at 7 on Saturday morning. Most were teenagers and young adults accompanied by their families. Several were alone, here to solve their substantial legal troubles on their own. Some clutched folders filled with birth certificates, passports, and other documents that measure a person's life. Some were empty-handed.

Friday marked the two-year anniversary of the implementation of President Obama's executive order, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, otherwise known as DACA. The move was intended to act as a quick fix for upstanding young adults who had been illegally brought to the United States as children, allowing them to access certain legal benefits: A Social Security number. Deferred deportation. A driver's license. Establish credit.

Of more than 900,000 eligible beneficiaries nationwide, around 500,000 have submitted DACA applications in the past two years. Catholic Charities held a statewide DACA counseling day on Saturday in which they offered legal services, live-chatting, video conferences, and application assistance to encourage potential DACA beneficiaries to apply, and help renewal applicants with the process.

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In Dallas' Time-Crunched Immigration Court, a Mom Watches Her Teen Daughter Get Deported

Categories: Immigration

Gaby's options were limited in Honduras, but without a legal way to stay in the US, she was out of options. She was given an order of deportation today in downtown Dallas' immigration court.
On November 21, 2013, 13-year-old Gaby entered the United States via Hidalgo, Texas. She had journeyed there, alone, from Honduras. She was apprehended by border patrol, and after a stay in one of the federal shelters, was released to her two parents, who live in Dallas.

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How Dallas' Schools Are Preparing for the Surge of Kids from Central America

Ken Hammond
School districts across the state are scrambling to accommodate an expected 25,000 additional students this school year, many of whom arrived unaccompanied from Central America.
Exactly one year ago, Dallas ISD's Student Intake Center began taking responsibility for every immigrant student coming into the district. The Center focuses on processing the kids who have never attended American schools before, by checking immunization records and other documents, and evaluating their level of education. The Center is accommodating a quickly growing number of kids entering the school district.

"In the 2013 to 2014 school year, by around April we were serving about 639 kids at the Center," says DISD spokesman André Riley, who was careful to point out that the Center did not distinguish which kids were unaccompanied minors, only noting which students were new to the United States. "In 2012 to 2013, there were 433 kids. 2011 to 2012, 253 kids. So it's been going up."

It's a common theme in school districts across the state.

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Dallas' Immigration Court Is Pushing Through Juvenile Migrant Cases Faster Than Ever

Categories: Immigration

The federal government is putting increasing pressure on immigration courts to get through cases as quickly as possible. But many are saying that with that rush comes a lack of due process.
Ixar, a slight, gangling teenager, nervously fidgeted in his chair as Judge Michael Baird stared him down. Babies' cries could be heard echoing through the halls, but it did not break the formal tension within the courtroom. Ixar's eyes flashed between the translator and Baird.

He had come a long way to get to this cramped courtroom in downtown Dallas' Earle Cabell Federal Building and Courthouse: On May 20, he entered the United States through the small town of Hidalgo. He had made his way there alone from El Salvador.

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