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Sheriff-Elect Ed Gonzalez Wants To End Program That Leads To Deportations

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick supports a bill banning so-called sanctuary cities, which are communities that don’t fully cooperate with the federal government in turning over undocumented immigrants, but the next Harris County Sheriff wants to work less with the feds.

Harris County Sheriff-elect Ed Gonzalez wants to eliminate the 287(g) program, by which the Sheriff’s Office alerts immigration authorities when they have undocumented immigrants in the county jail.

Gonzalez argues the program can violate due process and it is an unnecessary strain on the resources of the Sheriff’s Office.

He is also worried about distrust because immigrant communities get the impression that “the Police are now basically deportation agents.”

Additionally, Gonzalez argues the program can lead to racial profiling, but some disagree.

That is the case of Chris Chmielenski, director of content and activism at NumbersUSA, a group based in Virginia that advocates for reducing the levels of legal immigration to the United States and ending illegal immigration.

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Despite science, Texas still rejects fracking link to quakes

Associated Press

DALLAS (AP) – A white Chevy Suburban with “Railroad Commission of Texas” emblazoned on its side rolled north on Interstate 35. Behind the wheel sat Milton Rister, the commission’s director.

Trim and balding, Rister was a veteran political operator who had held influential positions in the Texas Republican Party for decades. He could smell political disaster from miles away – and this one reeked. As he neared the town of Azle, northwest of Dallas, Rister said to himself: Please let there be only 50 people there.

For weeks, telephones at commission headquarters in Austin had been ringing about earthquakes hitting Azle, which had never felt a quake before. Suddenly, ground was shaking under hayfields and homes, rattling windows, knocking pictures off shelves, and sending frightened children into their parents’ beds at night. One woman said her hens had quit laying eggs.

With more than 20 tremors in two months, locals wanted to know: were oil and gas operations causing this? What was the state’s energy regulator, the inaptly named Railroad Commission, going to do about it?

As the Suburban pulled in front of Azle High School, Rister surveyed the scene with dread. He had arrived an hour early for a public meeting on the quakes, but cars already filled the parking lot. A line of news trucks pointed their satellite dishes skyward.

Not good, Rister thought. His agency had no answers for the nearly 900 people packing the auditorium.

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Restrictive Voter ID Laws and Turnout: What We Might Learn from Texas


Whether the various new voter-ID laws have a significant effect on voter turnout has been notoriously difficult to assess empirically. The recent election results from Texas, however, might provide a way to get some insight into this question not previously available before.  As a result of federal court litigation, Texas now provides something of a natural experiment to test this question.

Up until now, it has been possible to get data in various states on the number of eligible voters who appear to lack the required forms of identification (typically, photo IDs) that a state’s recent voter ID law now requires.  Those numbers have often been established in litigation.  But the problem in understanding what effects these laws might have on election turnout and outcomes is that we do not know how many of those voters would actually have turned out to vote whether or not the voter ID law was in place.  The voters who lack the relevant IDs tend, not surprisingly, to be from socio-economic groups that have the lowest voter turnout rates as a general matter (in 2012, 47% of those earning under $10,000 voted while 80% of those earning more than $150,000 did, and see today’s NYT story on non-voters in Milwaukee).

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Amid Trump’s tough talk on NAFTA, Texans tout trade agreement benefits

Sean Collins Walsh

For multi-national corporations, the North American Free Trade Agreement cut labor costs and streamlined supply chains. For Mexican corn farmers and Michigan factory workers, NAFTA helped to end a way of life. For consumers, it’s meant lower prices for everything from avocados to automobiles.

In Laredo, where unending streams of 18-wheelers roll through the busiest U.S. inland port everyday, the NAFTA question isn’t a complicated one.

“If NAFTA would be rejected or withdrawn, Texas would be the most negatively impacted state, and the city of Laredo would be the most impacted city,” U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, said. “You’re talking about a lot of business. … Once Mr. Trump and his advisors really start looking at this, they will see that Mexico is a friend and not a threat.”

The landmark 1994 trade deal, which was negotiated by President George H.W. Bush and shepherded through Congress by President Bill Clinton, created the largest free trade zone in the world by eliminating most tariffs between the U.S., Mexico and Canada and making it easier for corporations to do business across the continent.

President-elect Donald Trump has promised to change or withdraw from NAFTA, calling it the “worst trade deal in history” and saying it contributed to the decline in U.S. manufacturing.

Although the deal’s impact on the overall U.S. economy is a matter of debate, Texas benefits disproportionately from trade with Mexico and never depended on manufacturing jobs to the extent that Rust Belt states did.

In 2015, $381 billion worth of trade between the U.S. and Mexico passed through Texas, accounting for 65 percent of total trade between the two countries, according to the Census Bureau.

About 4.9 million American jobs depend on trade with Mexico, including 382,000 in Texas, according to the Wilson Center, a Washington, D.C., think tank chartered by Congress that studies global affairs.

Not all of those jobs would go away if Trump follows through on threats to withdraw from NAFTA, but many would.

In the short term, if the U.S. restarts tariffs on goods from south of the border, Mexico likely would retaliate, sparking a trade war that could raise prices for U.S. consumers and hurt U.S. manufacturing exports in the process. Mexico is the second-biggest importer of U.S. goods, behind Canada.

In the long term, the higher cost of assembling products in Mexico would lead U.S. companies to make fewer products there. Trump hopes they would open more plants in the United States, but they could also go to countries where labor is even cheaper than in Mexico.

Trump to deal with surging migration to US, scant resources

Associated Press

SAN DIEGO (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump will face an immigration system that is maxed out when he takes office in January as a high number of Central Americans and Haitians continue to come to the U.S. through the Mexican border.

Resources to process the immigrants, detain them and to try their immigration cases in court are extremely strained.

Now, federal officials say they are releasing Haitian immigrants who have been entering the country in large numbers, backtracking on a pledge to jail them before they are deported.

A U.S. government official told The Associated Press that the decision to free Haitians arriving in Arizona and California is in response to a lack of jail space. The official said releasing immigrants with orders to report later to immigration court is a tactic used when detention space is scarce, under certain humanitarian conditions or as part of efforts to keep families together.

Before the Haitians are released, they are subjected to a criminal background and national security check. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and insisted on speaking on condition of anonymity.

Federal immigration officials announced Thursday they are opening a large processing facility in west Texas next week in an effort to deal with the large number of families and young children coming through the border. The facility in Tornillo, outside of El Paso, can hold up to 500 people and will be up and running by next week, officials say.

The influx of migrants and lack of jail space on the border will be one of the most immediate immigration challenges for Trump.

Among the issues Trump will face is growing opposition to conditions at Border Patrol holding cells and ICE detention centers.

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Bus carrying Texas State football team wrecks near New Mexico injuring five

By Jeremy T. Gerlach

A collision between two Texas State University buses carrying the football team to a game in New Mexico on Saturday sent six people to the hospital, according to university officials.

The six individuals included wide receiver Elijah King, a cheerleader, a student videographer with a cracked jaw, a football administrator carried out on a stretcher and at least two other people, according to initial reports from university personnel.

All six individuals have since been discharged from the hospital, according to a Texas State release.
Because of the accident, kickoff of Texas State’s game against New Mexico State University in Las Cruces was pushed back to 3:30 p.m. The Bobcats lost the game 50-10.

The team, cheerleaders and support staff were traveling west on I-10 near Vinton in a three-bus caravan at the time of the accident. The primary collision occurred between the third and middle buses, though all three vehicles were involved in the crash, according to a witness.

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RERsports — Source: Texas players threaten boycott of TCU game

Kirk Bohls American-Statesman Staff

Amidst the swirl of speculation about Charlie Strong’s future and reports that the Texas head football coach would be fired this week, several Longhorn players are considering boycotting this week’s regular-season finale against TCU, according to a source close to the Texas football program. Upperclassmen on the team are intervening and trying to calm the waters according to the source.

“Some of the team is threatening to boycott the TCU game,” the source said. “Older players are trying to settle things down.”

The American-Statesman reported on Sunday that the Texas administration had reached a decision to fire Strong after the 24-21 overtime loss to Kansas on Saturday but that school president Gregory L. Fenves didn’t want to conclude his evaluation and make public any announcement until after the final game.

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African-American faith leaders mourn, vow to continue fight after election

By Adelle M. Banks

Religion News Service

Back when so many thought Hillary Clinton would be the next president, two dozen African-American leaders wrote to the Democratic nominee asking her to explain her policies related to the poor and the police.

African Methodist Episcopal Bishop Frank M. Reid III said black clergy will make some of the same demands of President-elect Donald Trump.

“Mr. Trump, you’ve said that you want to bring jobs into the black community, strengthen the education system, etc.,” Bishop Reid said, imagining a future conversation after the “mind-blowing” election. “Purely as a political arrangement, we’re saying, ‘Let’s work together to do that.’ ”

Some African-American faith leaders, reeling from the election of Mr. Trump, say they intend to soldier on, reach out to those with whom they disagree and continue to fight for the social issues they care about, such as increasing the minimum wage and improving public schools.

After concerted get-out-the-vote efforts — from “text-a-thons” to phone banks — by black denominations, PICO National Network and other groups, some leaders say they’re still trying to figure out why Mr. Trump won.

“It’s like a mourning. It’s like a funeral in some parts of America, in black America, among Muslim Americans and among immigrants I’ve talked to this morning,” the Rev. Barbara Williams-Skinner, co-chair of the National African-American Clergy Network, said the day after Election Day.

She noted that the presidential election had an undertone of racial animosity and took place for the first time since the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated portions of the federal Voting Rights Act that provided voter protections.

“It makes a difference when your polling place moves to the suburbs and … when there’s no Sunday transportation where pastors can take their people to the polls after a service,” she said.

The Rev. James C. Perkins, president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, voiced similar concerns.

“Despite the election conclusion, the PNBC will still pursue our social justice agenda to get the Voting Rights Act restored,” he said in a statement. “It was clear during this election that voter suppression impacted African-Americans, seniors and others negatively.”

Evangelical Ralph Reed, chairman of the conservative Faith and Freedom Coalition, noted that exit polls indicated that Mr. Trump received 8 percent of the black vote, 2 percentage points more than GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney gained in 2012.

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Man Bites Dog: Trump Did Better With Minorities In 2016 Than Mitt Romney Did In 2012

White share of the electorate continues to decline

While Trump won the Electoral College, he lost the popular vote. That makes 2016 the sixth time in seven presidential elections that a single party has lost the popular vote: an unprecedented feat. And these losses are increasingly driven by GOP losses among minorities.

The first thing to note, as the above chart shows, is that while Trump dominated white voters—as Republicans have usually done of late—the white share of the electorate has continued to decline. It was 77 percent when George W. Bush ran for reelection in 2004; it was 70 percent this year. Latinos and Asians now represent a combined 15 percent of the electorate, compared to 10 percent in 2004.

It has become a cliché to say that Republicans can’t continue to lose minorities by the margins they are losing them. But for this election at least, they could.

Minority support of Republicans was weak, but stable

The chart below tracks how whites, blacks, Latinos, Asians, and the rest voted in the last four presidential elections. You’ll notice that George W. Bush was the best-performing GOP nominee with minorities, capturing 11 percent of the black vote, 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, and 44 percent of the Asian vote. Mitt Romney did 5 points worse with blacks, 17 points worse with Latinos, and 18 points worse with Asians.

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Central Americans surge across the US border before Trump takes office

By Joshua Partlow and Nick Miroff

MCALLEN, Texas — Along the route through Mexico, no one was really sure how to say Trump’s name. Smugglers called him ‘‘El Malo’’ (the bad one) or ‘‘El Feo’’ (the ugly one) and told the migrants they had better hurry north before his wall went up.

The US agents who took them into custody said he would be president, and it was a new day at the border.

‘‘They said it to the whole group: We would all be deported because Trump won,’’ said Octavio de Leon, 43, a Guatemalan who was detained with his son while crossing into Texas right after the election.

President-elect Donald Trump has promised major change to the US immigration system at a time when Central American families are flowing into the United States in growing numbers, many fleeing warlike conditions and poverty. The US Border Patrol has captured more migrants over the past three months than during the same period in each of the past five years.

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