Author: Roque Planas

Texas Activists Occupy Governor’s Office To Stop Immigration Crackdown Bill

THE HUFFINGTON POST AUSTIN, Texas ― Dozens of protesters poured into the offices of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Monday, refusing to leave unless he agrees to veto a Republican-backed effort to crack down on “sanctuary” jurisdictions.   The protest puts immigrant rights activists, faith leaders and at least one elected official on path to confrontation with the Republican governor, who is likely to disregard the pressure and eventually sign Senate Bill 4 into law. The legislation, widely opposed by state law enforcement officials, would impose jail time and fines on local officials who decline to cooperate with every request...

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Alex Jones Takes The Stand About His Drinking, Pot-Smoking And Chili-Eating

THE HUFFINGTON POST AUSTIN, Texas ― Attorneys for Alex Jones’ ex-wife grilled him on the witness stand Thursday in his high-profile custody battle, in an aggressive line of questioning that focused on the conservative radio host’s temperament and character. First on the agenda: whether Jones had eaten chili that morning. “Is that a serious question?” Jones responded. Alex Jones and his ex-wife, Kelly, are drawing national media attention for the fight over their three children. Alex Jones’ lawyers are arguing that the raging conspiracy theorist and ally of President Donald Trump is a different man when he comes home...

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Trump’s Immigration Crackdown Would Burn Billions Of Dollars DHS Doesn’t Have

President Donald Trump has promised a “big, beautiful wall” between the United States and Mexico and a massive crackdown on illegal immigration. Now, Congress will have to decide whether to pay for it. A flurry of executive orders released during Trump’s first few weeks in office ordered the Department of Homeland Security to come up with the plan to erect more border fencing, and to hire 5,000 Border Patrol agents and 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. The president wants authorities to scrap the so-called “catch and release” of recent border crossers, instead detaining every single person until they can be deported. Leaked memos obtained by MSNBC appear to indicate DHS is considering a plan to increase immigrant detention bed space by nearly 500 percent. Any one of those policies would send DHS’ budget skyrocketing and saddle the department with decades’ worth of long-term costs. But neither the wall nor the personnel increases would do much to raise the overall level of deportations, many experts say ― which means Trump’s plans sound more like expensive wishful thinking than a blueprint for effective enforcement. “It’s billions and billions and billions of dollars,” John Sandweg, the former acting director of ICE, told The Huffington Post. “It’s 100 percent not feasible under the current funding levels.” The border wall alone, as proposed, would cost more than $20 billion, according to a DHS estimate....

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Texas Republicans Take First Step Toward Anti-Trans Bathroom Bill

  The Texas Senate gave a first hearing Tuesday to a controversial bill that would force people to use only the public restroom designated for the sex listed on their birth certificate. Some of the state’s most powerful Republicans, including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, back the bill on the use of bathrooms in public schools and government buildings. But opponents ― including LGBTQ activists, civic rights groups and business leaders ― view it as a direct attack on the rights of the transgender community, which already suffers from bullying, hate crimes and an elevated suicide rate. More than 400 people signed up to testify at the State Affairs Committee hearing, with supporters and opponents both well represented. With each person allotted two minutes to speak, the public comment segment of the hearing was slated to continue well into the evening. State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, a Republican, toned down the original bill’s aims, offering a committee substitute that struck a section that would have imposed criminal enhancements against those convicted of some crimes committed in bathrooms of the opposite gender. But she continued to argue that the bill offered a safeguard protecting the privacy of women and children from men who might enter women’s restrooms with predatory intentions. While the media makes it so much about transgender, this is a bill that says men should not go into a women’s...

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Mexican President Cancels Meeting With Donald Trump After Border Wall Order

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced Thursday that he canceled a meeting with President Donald Trump that had been scheduled to take place on Jan. 31 in Washington. Peña Nieto had faced intense pressure from legislators to take a firmer stand against Trump by passing on the meeting, after Trump signed an executive order Wednesday moving forward on the construction of a wall along the Mexican border ― while continuing to insist that Mexico will somehow pay the multibillion-dollar...

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Young Immigrants On Edge Waiting To See If Donald Trump Will Deport Them

As Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration approached on Friday, rumors buzzed among immigrant rights activists that he’d ax the popular Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program ― perhaps as early as that afternoon. The 2012 program, known by its acronym DACA, shields more than 740,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children from deportation, and allows them to work legally for a two-year, renewable period. Trump had promised on the campaign trail to do away with it. Friday came and went without DACA news. On Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer twice dodged questions about whether Trump would rescind DACA, telling reporters the administration would focus deportation efforts on people with criminal records. Spicer dealt reporters a similarly vague line on Tuesday, saying: “With respect to DACA, [Trump] wants to organize the team and move forward with respect to that issue and that’s where we are right now.” Spicer’s words suggest to many observers that the new administration is backing away from Trump’s campaign pledge. But the vague language leaves many young undocumented immigrants who benefit from the program unnerved. “We’ve been on a psychological roller coaster over the last few days,” Antonio Alarcón, a youth organizer with the advocacy group Make the Road New York. “We know that Donald Trump can say something one day, then in two hours he can say something else. We’re...

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Trump Says He’ll Immediately Deport Or Imprison Up To 3 Million Undocumented Immigrants

President-elect Donald Trump plans to deport or imprison somewhere between 2 million and 3 million undocumented immigrants as soon as he takes office. In an interview with CBS News that will air Sunday night, Trump said he would launch what could be the largest mass deportation effort in modern history, vowing to immediately deport a number of people comparable to the record-setting figure that President Barack Obama carried out over two terms in office. “What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably 2 million, it could be even 3 million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate,” Trump said in the interview. “But we’re getting them out of our country, they’re here illegally.” In saying that 2 million to 3 million undocumented immigrants with criminal records live in the U.S., Trump was repeating a claim he’d made earlier in the campaign that The Washington Post fact-checked and determined was inaccurate. The Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, estimates that around 820,000 undocumented immigrants have criminal records ― a figure that includes many people whose only conviction is crossing the border illegally. Under prosecutorial discretion guidelines in place since 2011, undocumented migrants with minor crimes are in some cases able to avoid deportation....

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Mexico City Legislature Declares Donald Trump ‘Persona Non Grata’

Mexico City’s Legislative Assembly declared Donald Trump “morally a persona non grata” in a non-binding resolution Wednesday, just hours before the Republican presidential nominee arrived in the country to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto. The legislative body called on Peña Nieto to demand that Trump publicly apologize for the insults he’s lobbed at Mexico, a list that notably includes the 2015 speech where Trump described the country’s migrants as criminals and “rapists.” The resolution also asks Trump to back off from his promise to build a giant wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that he expects Mexico to pay for. Though Mexico City elected officials can’t stop Trump from entering the country, the declaration adds to the storm of criticism Peña Nieto has received for extending the invitation. Deputy Mauricio Toledo of the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) offered the proposal Wednesday morning, in response to the surprise news the night before that Peña Nieto had invited Trump to visit. The conservative National Action Party (PAN) joined the PRD in supporting the resolution, as did two smaller parties. “We can’t let a person like Donald Trump perpetually insult the Mexican people,” Toledo told the city legislature. Toledo called on the Peña Nieto administration to seek assurances that Trump won’t develop “a fascist, and above all racist relationship” with Mexico and the rest of Latin America, according to a press...

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