Standing Room Only At Collin County Meeting About Immigrant Children

by Steve Pickett

With the threat of a so-called “immigrant tsunami,” Collin County Commissioner Mark Reid invited the public to attend commissioner’s court on Monday –- and they did.

It was standing room only at the county building, as people sounded off about housing immigrant children, despite there being no current plans to do so in Collin County.

Residents packed the meeting, with an overwhelming majority speaking out against any plan to bring children to the county. There are plans to house as many as 2,000 children in nearby Dallas County.

Commissioners are discussing a resolution that says housing minors suspected of being in the U.S. illegally is not in the best interests of our citizens.

A few spoke out against the resolution, like Cody Rodriguez, who said, “the people of Collin do not turn away from children.” Most others supported it.

Barbara Harliss said, “What we see is not immigration, but an invasion, a deliberate invasion.”

Concerns about crime and disease were raised. Mike Giles said resources should not be taken from American children to care for others.

“Don’t force our community, our county to do this. Do it on your own,” said Hugh Cabanaro.

Darryl Rivard of Prosper echoed those comments, saying, “America is dying. Lazy, uneducated moochers and parasites have infested this nation, and they are rapidly becoming the majority.”

Another meeting for citizen input is scheduled for next week.

See video here.

Texas lawyers line up to help flood of young migrants


by Natalie Posgate

Law firms, corporate legal departments and bar associations across Texas have started pro bono projects to represent Central American children flooding across the border.

But Nathan Hecht, chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, said last week that many more in the legal profession need to step up.

Hecht said it will take hundreds or even thousands of volunteer lawyers to guarantee that cases involving the unaccompanied children are handled quickly and fairly under the law.

“The need is going to be a whole lot bigger than the supply,” he said. “Many lawyers are already standing up to volunteer, but we are going to need to call on a lot more to pitch in. This is going to impact our family courts very heavily.”

Big firms — Baker Botts, Hunton & Williams, Jones Day, Vinson & Elkins and many others —are already representing migrant children pro bono or will train lawyers to do so.

AT&T and ExxonMobil, with two of the nation’s premier corporate legal departments and award-winning pro bono programs, are preparing in-house lawyers to help out if needed. AT&T’s world headquarters is in Dallas; ExxonMobil is based in Irving.

“We are going to need all of them and a lot more,” Hecht said.

While migrant children are primarily the concern of federal immigration courts, Hecht said many of those seeking to stay will start their legal journeys in the state court system as part of the process of determining custody. He said Harris County family courts, for example, reported this week that they have 37 new cases involving the migrant children on the docket.

The chief justice said he and other court officials are researching possible ways to pay for senior judges to help handle the caseload’s anticipated jump. He said that the possible use of volunteer special masters is also being explored.

“Most lawyers, especially corporate lawyers, are not familiar with these family law issues, but it is an easily knowable area of the law,” the chief justice said. “Handbooks, materials and briefs are being prepared even as we speak to help out those lawyers.”

Some law firms have already sent lawyers to meet with the children.

“We have already deployed a number of our Spanish-speaking lawyers, primarily from Texas, to Lackland Air Force Base,” said Hilda Galvan, partner-in-charge of Jones Day’s Dallas office.

Lackland, in San Antonio, is one place where unaccompanied children who were taken into custody at the border are being sheltered until their legal status can be determined by the courts.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins is pushing to open as many as three such shelters in the Dallas area.

Many law firms are working with nonprofit organizations, including Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, Catholic Charities and Kids in Need of Defense, which have established programs that include training of lawyers unfamiliar with immigration law.

It’s “succinct, on point, almost cookbook-recipe-type training,” said Dan Garner, a corporate finance partner at Hunton & Williams in Dallas. “To not be experienced in litigation is not a barrier in this kind of work.”

The Dallas Hispanic Bar Association has formed a committee to recruit volunteer attorneys to represent the children. The committee so far has trained more than 100 attorneys. The Dallas Hispanic Bar is also coordinating volunteer opportunities to help children in shelters elsewhere in Texas and in Oklahoma.

Mey Ly, a Dallas lawyer at Littler, a labor and employment law firm, said that attorneys — regardless of their practice area — are in a unique position to navigate the law.

“We’re the only subset of people who can help in this way,” she said. “If we don’t do it, who else will?”

In April, Greenberg Traurig, which has offices in Dallas and Houston, trained more than 100 lawyers to handle child immigration cases. The firm has already tackled 25 such cases.

Jennifer Tomsen, a commercial litigator at Greenberg in Houston, noted that there is no right to counsel in immigration cases. Studies have shown that those who do have representation are three times more likely to secure a favorable outcome than those who appear without attorneys. Children are at an even greater disadvantage when they face a daunting legal process without counsel.

Under federal law, she said, juveniles from Central America may be granted permission to stay in the U.S. in cases where they “have been abused, abandoned and neglected by one or both parents and where it is not in the best interest of the children to be sent back.”

She added: “We train our lawyers for several hours to understand the complexities of immigration law and procedures under the law. The idea that a child will know and understand the legal standards involved and know the evidence they need to present to the family and immigration courts is a very far stretch.”

Legal experts say proposals to fast-track deportation proceedings for the children raise significant issues.

“It takes a long time for lawyers to gain the trust of the children in order to learn their situations and stories,” Tomsen said. “I worry that fast-tracking these cases will lead to due process violations.”

She has handled cases for a teen from Honduras and one from El Salvador. She won them both.

“They were the best days I’ve had in my legal career,” she said.

Aubrey Meyers, a lawyer at Holland & Knight in Dallas and a member of the board of the Human Rights Initiative, said it’s a common misunderstanding that 2,000 children would come to Dallas County under Jenkins’ plan. The numbers are much higher.

The shelters are expected to hold 2,000 children at a time, so when one group leaves, “there will be another coming in to fill those beds,” Meyers said.

There is concern that some lawyers are reluctant to step forward out of fear that their involvement could get then tangled up in the intense political debate surrounding immigration.

“There are certainly political issues to tackle here, but we need to address those issues without making these kids pawns in the game,” said Mark Melton, a tax lawyer at Hunton & Williams in Dallas.

Melton recently visited a Fort Worth facility hosting 30 migrant children. His interviews with children there were “absolutely heartbreaking,” he said. One 6-year-old from Honduras showed him bruises and scars on her arms and legs, the result of abuse at the hands of a caregiver back home.

“There will be plenty of time to be a Republican or Democrat, a hard-liner or a bleeding heart,” said Melton. “But at this moment, let’s just be human beings.”

Dreamers deserve the chance to pursue education

It just takes one look at the two groups squaring off, shouting at each other across Elm Street this month, to see how a flood of children at our borders has become a Rorschach test of the passions that divide us over immigration. To one side, they are a human challenge to the conscience of our traditionally welcoming country. To the other, they are a threat to law, security and our economy. Send them back to danger and possible death? Let them stay and risk priming an unstoppable flow? It’s yet another heartbreaking example of how divided this country is on this critical issue.

Yet, take one look at Oscar Diaz and you will see a place where we all can agree, even on this contentious issue. Diaz is a straight-A student. He graduated in the top 10 of his high school class. He even earned an associate degree in computer science from a community college by taking classes while he was still in high school. Now he wants to go on to earn a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree. He wants to become a computer programmer and then help other people, including his siblings, get their educations, too.

But without help, it’s going to be hard. Maybe impossible.

Diaz represents another kind of immigration crisis building right around us. If we have the will, we can turn this crisis into a windfall for us all. Diaz was born in Mexico and has been living and going to school in this country since he was 8 years old. Now 19 and living in El Paso, Diaz is part of the group of young people who call themselves Dreamers.

Like Diaz, Dreamers are students who came here as children with their parents, have been in this country since at least 2007, and thus have lived most of their lives here. These children of undocumented immigrants now have legal status in the U.S. under President Barack Obama’s executive action.

Many of these Dreamers graduate at the top of their classes. Many get 4.0 grade-point averages. They do community service. Many are doing all this while working to help support their families. They want to be teachers, nurses, lawyers, engineers, veterinarians and accountants. They want to start businesses and help other people. They are young, healthy and motivated — both to go to college and to become productive members of society. The barriers they face are beyond their control.

Every year, thousands of these young people are graduating from high school, indistinguishable from their classmates in everything but this: While they have temporary legal status, they don’t have access to any of the federal scholarships or loan programs that usually enable low-income students to go to college. Despite their drive and abilities, all the usual ways that low-income students fund their educations are closed to them.

Dreamers like Diaz aren’t eligible — as all their classmates are — for federal grants or even loans to fund their education. While many are scraping together college hours one course at a time when they can accumulate funds, this is a slow, painful and often impossible way to finish school. Many of them, despite their best efforts, are going to wind up trapped in the low-income jobs waiting for those without college degrees.

There are at least 650,000, and possibly as many as 2 million, of these students in the U.S. right now. They are Hispanic, Asian, European — they come from El Salvador, Mexico, the Philippines, Korea and two dozen other countries. If we educate these students, we can create a powerful resource for their communities and for all of us in this country. If we fail to do so, we lose a whole generation of motivated talent and ability.

Over the past 25 years, we’ve worked to make scholarships available to American-born, low-income students in Washington, D.C., and we’ve seen the transformation a college degree can make in the life not only of an individual, but of his or her entire family. These people want to learn, to grow, to contribute. Surely, educating young people who want so badly to be educated and who will put their learning to such good use is something with which we all can agree.

Amanda Bennett is a journalist, author and the former editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Her husband, Donald E. Graham, is the former owner of The Washington Post. They can be contacted via email at

AT A GLANCE: Dream initiative

TheDream.US is supported by both Democrats and Republicans. It was created by a group that includes both Henry Munoz, finance chief of the Democratic National Committee, and Carlos Gutierrez, secretary of commerce under President George W. Bush. Its backers include Bill and Melinda Gates, Grover Norquist and Newt Gingrich. So far, TheDream.US has awarded more than 300 scholarships to Dreamers. For more information, visit


To help Dreamers get a college education, make checks out to Scholarship America and mail to Scholarship America, Attn: Debra K. Johnson, One Scholarship Way, Saint Peter, Minn., 56082. Please indicate in the memo that your gift is for TheDream.US Scholarship Fund.

Or you can visit the website: TheDream.US/donate. Every $100 pays for one college credit for a Dreamer.

August Recess Fast Approaching, Congress Down to the Wire on Immigration

by Kara Jones

Incoming House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) dodged questions Sunday when asked if House Republicans would delay Congress’ five-week vacation in order to address the continual crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Indecision over how to approach the steady influx of migrant children has lawmakers playing the finger-pointing game in Washington. The House, Senate, and White House will need to act quickly and work together if they hope reach a deal by the end of the week.

Scalise stressed the urgency of the situation while speaking with FNC’s Chris Wallace this morning. He declared that Congress is ready to tackle the issue but President Obama is more interested in securing funds for the Democratic party than securing the border:

Well, it’s ironic. We’re here in Congress right now and the president doesn’t want to work with us while we’re in town, he wants to wait until people are gone. The president has a lot of time on his schedule to secure fundraisers, but he has no time to secure the border. He has not taken his job seriously in this regard. The House is willing to lead. The House has laid out what we’ll do to solve this problem. The president just wants to sit back and play politics. He’s flying around the country doing fundraisers, he doesn’t have time to sit down and work with Congress.

He could solve this problem today. He has been AWOL, he doesn’t want to solve this problem, but we do.

We’re going to stay, we’re going to work, and we’re going to get our job done. I’d like to see the Senate take something up and do their job. I’d like to see the president do his job. But we’re not going to wait for that.

Here’s a little secret about members of Congress: they are people just like us and they like to go on vacation just like us. There is no easy solution to the complex problem at the border. We will see what happens in September.

Border Patrol Agents Reveal The UN is in Control of the Border

by Dave Hodges

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) has previously met with officials from the U.S., Mexico and various Central American countries on the pretense of labeling the thousands of illegal immigrants as refugees. Indeed, the United Nations is now categorizing the present wave of immigrants as refugees from political and domestic violence that are merely seeking asylum in the United States. By declaring this to be the case, the United Nations is “lawfully” exerting their international power to force the United States to openly take in any and all refugees with welcoming arms, at the expense of the American taxpayer.

A Chance Encounter

Nearly three weeks ago while traveling to San Diego on Interstate 8, I had a chance encounter with a Border Patrol Agent in a convenience store located in Yuma, AZ. I approached him and gave him my business card. I promised the agent complete anonymity with regard to any questions that he would answer. He reluctantly agreed to answer my questions. In response to my questions about the health risks posed by illegal immigrants, he stated that Border Patrol Agents have contracted drug resistant TB, scabies that can carry more serious illnesses and bacteriological pneumonia. As an aside, one of Arizona’s most prominent physicians, Dr. Jane Orient, has been told the same by Border Patrol Agents whistleblowers and she stated so on my show on July 13th.

Some Border Patrol Agents Are “FED” Up

Last night, this same Border Patrol Agent called me at the number on my business card. He stated that he had been reading my articles and that he felt that I was expressing a deep understating of the problem. However, he unequivocally stated my knowledge of UN involvement on the border was significantly outdated and understated.  He stated that “the UN is already here” and he has seen clear evidence that “they are calling the shots on the border”.

This agent claims that he has encountered UN personnel at the detention facilities that he and fellow agents take the illegal immigrants to after arresting them. I asked him how he knew there were UN representatives at the border, he said he saw the proof in the sign-in sheets at the detention centers. Also, he noted that members of the World Health Organization have been in attendance as well. So, Dr. Jane Orient’s fears of a pandemic invasion may indeed be well-founded.

Throughout the course of his duties, the agent has learned that UN personnel are making decisions on which immigrants to send to what location inside of the United States. He said he has seen the UN personnel and DHS agents gathering MS-13 gangsters, captured from different roundups, patch worked together as a group and then shipped together to various locations on the perimeter of the United States. He knows this because some of his colleagues are involved in the transport of these illegal aliens. The agent’s partner, also on the phone, stated that “I objected to admitting MS-13 gangsters into the United States and I was told that we have our orders to treat them like anyone else”.

I asked the agent how he knew these were MS-13 and he said you can tell “by the tattoos”. He recounted the fact that MS-13 operatives will have a tattoo with tears on their face which represents a person that they have murdered in the commission of their drug related duties. He said he processed an MS-13 member who had 9 tears on his face and he was told to process him as an “unaccompanied juvenile refugee”.

Both men stated that while on patrol they encountered a storage area where they found water barrels . Upon closer examination, they discovered discarded drug bags and a hidden cache of weapons (e.g. AK-47′s). They also took four nearby people into custody and called for backup. He said that clearly one of the four detainees was from MS-13.  Eventually, four Border Patrol SUV’s showed up at the scene and were making plans to seize the guns as contraband connected to drug trafficking. When their supervisor arrived on the scene, the seizures were stopped and the agents were ordered from the area. As the agents were departing, they witnessed a civilian open bed pickup truck carrying about a dozen people in civilian clothes being transported to the area. In hindsight, he presumes that these men to be members of the Sinaloa cartel being brought in to secure their arms and other supplies. The agent stated that the stopping of arms seizures and drug seizures is becoming commonplace at the border.

After the event, all of the agents who were present at the scene attended a mandatory briefing in which they were told that they had accidentally uncovered an intelligence operation being conducted by ICE in conjunction with DHS in which they were allowing members of a cartel to operate with impunity in exchange for intelligence information on larger drug shipments.

We’ve Heard This Story Before

Let’s consider the public drug trial of Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla and compare the facts of this case to the claims of the two Border Patrol Agents.  Continue reading here.

Border patrol: ‘This is the dream of every terrorist in the world’

by Todd Starnes

The Transportation Security Administration is strongly denying accusations that it has been allowing illegal immigrants to board American jetliners without proper identification.

The National Border Patrol Council, a union representing thousands of Border Patrol agents, accused the TSA of letting illegals board airplanes with a “Notice to Appear” document instead of a passport or official government identification card.

Union leaders said illegals were allowed to board jetliners without proper identification at airports in El Paso and Laredo, Texas. The story was first reported by Breitbart News.

“This is the dream of every terrorist in the world,” Shawn Moran, vice president of the union, told me. “There is no way of knowing who is on board the jetliners.”

Whenever illegal immigrants are processed, Moran said, they are released with a “Notice to Appear” document. He said that’s the document they are using to fly commercially in the United States.

“This is a document that could easily be forged,” Moran told me. “It is simply a computer printout with a name on it.”

He said border agents in Laredo asked the TSA why they would allow illegals to board jetliners with the “Notice to Appear” document.

“They said, ‘You guys issued it to them so we’re accepting it,’” Moran told me. “It doesn’t make sense.”

Judicial Watch, a conservative legal watchdog group, confirmed through an unnamed high-level source within the Department of Homeland Security that illegals were allowed to board jetliners in El Paso without identification.

“TSA is letting them go around security,” the source told Judicial Watch. “No picture ID, just a slip of paper.”

Not true, the TSA tells me.

“These reports are false,” the TSA said in a statement. “A Notice to Appear, issued by the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), is not an acceptable form of ID at the TSA checkpoint.”

All travelers must have a valid form of identification, the TSA stressed.

“For Mexican nationals without a passport who are returning to Mexico, they can be issued a Certificate of Presumption of Nationality of Mexico (CPNM) by the Government of Mexico,” the TSA statement read. “TSA has established a robust verification process of a CPNM, which includes a photograph. At the checkpoint, this documentation will be authenticated by TSA’s Identity Verification Call Center (IVCC), the same center that processes U.S. travelers who may have lost, or forgotten, their government-issued ID. Once this process is complete, the passenger will undergo enhanced TSA screening.”

Moran said the union decided to go public with the accusations after their concerns were unheeded by the TSA.

“The Border Patrol is not in the business of providing government IDs,” he said. “These documents should not be used to establish identity or to allow people to use the transportation system.”

He said the border agents in Laredo tried to explain to the TSA how easily the documents could be forged – but their concerns were not addressed.

“It’s unbelievable that another government agency would take a simple piece of paper that could be forged by anyone with a home computer and use that as a valid form of ID to travel,” he said.

Moran warned that the TSA’s alleged actions put the country at risk.

“It could easily be used by people looking to exploit our transportation system,” he said. “Thirteen years ago, 19 people exploited our transportation system and killed nearly 3,000 Americans. This is a threat we have talked about for many years.”

Just something to think about the next time the TSA takes personal liberties with your private parts.

See video here.

Texas Attorney General: Immigrants Crossing Border Illegally Are Raping, Killing In Texas

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says up to 1,000 National Guard troops will be deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border to stop the immigrants who are crossing the border illegally for criminal purposes.

“The purpose of adding more resources on the ground is not to address the women and children, it’s to address the growing reality that a lot of people coming across the border are here for criminal purposes,” Abbott, the GOP gubernatorial hopeful, told Fox News on Monday. “They’re killing, they’re raping, they’re robbing, they’re doing all kinds of harsh criminal activity.”

Abbott said that women and children have been sexually assaulted by people who have come across the border.

“In addition to the tens of thousands of children and women who are coming across the border, we are seeing very dangerous cartel members, MS-13 gang members, some of the worst of the worst,” Abbott explained to Fox News.

Gov. Rick Perry announced Monday that he will be deploying National Guard troops to the border over the next month to combat what he said Monday were criminals exploiting a surge of children pouring into the U.S. illegally.

Perry, a vocal critic of the White House’s response to the border crisis who is himself mulling a second presidential run, said the state has a responsibility to act after “lip service and empty promises” from Washington.

“I will not stand idly by while our citizens are under assault and little children from Central America are detained in squalor,” the governor said.

Abbott stated that the National Guard will be acting as a “force multiplier” at the border.

“We’ve seen time and again … that when we have more boots on the ground at the border it reduces the cross-border traffic,” Abbott told Fox News, adding that he is working on the legalities of whether the troops will be allowed to make arrests.

Abbott also said that the federal government has turned its back on Texas.

“I think the federal goverment has turned its back on the state of Texas. This is not a Texas issue, this is a United States of America issue,” he told Fox News. “Look at all of the different states in this country that are reacting to the situation and the president has turned his back.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday that Perry wanted to “make a symbolic statement to the people of Central America that the border is closed.”

“He thinks that the best way to do that is to send 1,000 National Guard troops to the border,” Earnest said. “It seems to me that a much more powerful symbol would be the bipartisan passage of legislation that would actually make a historic investment in border security and send an additional 20,000 personnel to the border.”

That refers to the U.S. Senate’s passage of comprehensive immigration reform that stalled in the House. Earnest also said the White House hasn’t received the kind of “formal communication” from Perry’s office that usually accompanies such deployments.

The Texas Democratic Party accused Perry, who spent part of the weekend in Iowa, of “continuing his routine of photo-op politics to further his presidential aspirations” rather than seeking long-term border solutions.

Eduardo Campirano, chairman of the Rio South Texas Economic Council said “adding a military presence to our communities will only create an inaccurate image that our safe and viable border region in the Rio Grande Valley is dangerous.”

President George W. Bush sent 6,000 National Guard troops to the border in 2006, and Obama eventually extended that deployment while ordering a second wave to Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico in 2010.

On previous border deployments, National Guard soldiers have served in support roles — administrative, intelligence gathering. Some troops already participate in counter-drug operations on the border, though they don’t have arrest powers.

Perry had announced last month that Texas would give $1.3 million per week to the Department of Public Safety to assist in border security through at least the end of the year. He said the state has already spent $500 million on border security but “as all of the Texans who have fallen victim to the crime at the hands of these criminal aliens will attest to, the price of inaction is too high for Texans to pay.”

2008 Trafficking Law Largely Inapplicable to Current Border Crisis

by Jon Feere

The recent influx of Central American illegal immigrants has resulted in a significant debate about how the United States should deal with the newly arrived families and children. Despite the attention it has received, by its own terms, the “William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008” — a law aimed, in part, at “unaccompanied alien children” who are victims of trafficking — may have little applicability to the current situation on the border:

  • It appears that a significant majority of children coming across are not “unaccompanied alien children” according to the definition found in federal law. Federal law defines an “unaccompanied alien child” as an illegal alien under the age of 18 who is without “a parent or legal guardian in the United States”. Data from government agencies suggest that the overwhelming majority of minors arriving on the U.S. border have family in the United States.
  • There is little evidence to suggest that the recent arrivals are victims of trafficking, which involves coercion. Instead, families and their children are willing participants in smuggling operations, having paid smugglers to bring them into the United States. As ICE explains, “Human trafficking and human smuggling are distinct criminal activities, and the terms are not interchangeable.”
  • Even where the 2008 trafficking act is applicable, provisions within the law allow its application to be limited in “exceptional circumstances”, which — as one prominent Democratic senator recently suggested — might include the current border crisis.

It is important to remember that trafficking laws are not responsible for the current illegal immigration surge and any changes that might be made will likely have little impact. Amending them should not become a distraction from addressing the bigger problem of lax enforcement of existing immigration laws, which continue to encourage people to come to the United States illegally.

Defining the Recent Arrivals. Minors who enter the United States illegally arrive primarily from four countries: Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The most recent arrivals are primarily from Central America. In FY 2009, Mexican minors accounted for 82 percent of the 19,668 children apprehended along the U.S. border, while 17 percent were from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Within the first eight months of FY 2014, the proportions had nearly reversed. Of the 47,017 minors apprehended at the border, 25 percent were Mexican and 73 percent were Central American.1

The latest figures from U.S. Customs and Border Protection show a 106 percent increase in the number of minors entering the United States illegally and that 57,525 such minors have been apprehended between October 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014.2

Deportation records show a steady decline in the number of youths (under age 18) removed from 2008 to 2013. The number of Central American minors deported declined despite the increased number of minors arriving over the last several years. The records confirm that very few of the tens of thousands of Central Americans apprehended by the Border Patrol or ICE in recent years have been sent home, suggesting that the aspirations of tens of thousands of Central Americans now surging across the border are based on a realistic assessment of their chances to remain in the United States.3

Data on whether minors are arriving with family has been difficult to come by, but it is critical in crafting an appropriate response to the situation. It would be helpful to know what percentage of immigrant minors are arriving with family, and secondly, for those who arrive without family, what percentage have family inside the United States. These factors determine the applicability of the 2008 trafficking law.

It is unclear how many minors arriving at the U.S. border come with family members. But what happens to those who arrive on their own is more significant to the analysis. According to a leaked ICE memo, over 77 percent of non-Mexican children arriving at the border without a family member were released to family members inside the United States in FY 2013.4 According to advocates and media reports, around 90 percent of non-Mexican and non-Canadian children coming across the border are placed with family or guardians in the United States.5 Similar percentages have been noted by some policymakers and agency administrators. HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell recently testified that approximately 55 percent of released alien children are released to parents and another 30 percent are released to other family members, bringing the total to 85 percent of such children being released to family.6 Mark Greenberg, acting assistant secretary within HHS, recently testified that, thus far in FY 2014, approximately 95 percent of children released went to a parent, relative, or non-relative sponsor.7

While better data would be helpful, what the available data suggest is that the overwhelming majority of minors arriving at the U.S. border are either with families or will be released to family members or guardians already in the United States. As explained below, children who have family or legal guardians in the United States are not “unaccompanied alien children” under federal law.

Trafficking Is Different from Smuggling

The “William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008” was passed by a Democratic Congress and signed into law on December 23, 2008, by former President George W. Bush.  Continue reading here.

Kaufman County says ‘no’ to illegal immigrant minors

by Danielle Haynes

Kaufman County Commissioners on Monday approved a resolution expressing the county’s desire not to house any of the thousands of illegal immigrants, specifically unaccompanied minors, currently being held along the Texas-Mexico border.

The item was put on the commissioners’ court agenda for Monday’s special meeting one week after State Sen.-elect Stuart Spitzer, State Rep.-elect Bob Hall and Kaufman County Tea Party Chairman Ray Myers brought it before the court.

The three men brought a resolution passed in Galveston County before the court during the July 14 regular meeting and urged the commissioners to pass something similar.

Myers called the situation at the border, in which thousands of unaccompanied illegal minors are being held, “probably the greatest crisis in our lifetime.”

Hall and Myers attended Monday’s meeting, again showing support for the proposed resolution.

“We are very concerned about the possibility of bringing diseased, maybe gang members,” into the county, Myers said.

“The federal government is offering a lot of money to counties and organizations” to house the children, he added. “Let me implore you, don’t take the money.”

Hall said he recently spent time at the border observing the situation and believes it’s worse than most people realize. He believes some of the minors are actually adults — possibly gang members — trying to pass as teenagers.

“I think we need to be aware and not be in a position for our community to be overwhelmed,” he said. “We have some control we can exercise.

County Treasurer-elect Ronnie Oldfield also spoke at Monday’s meeting, urging the commissioners to instead consider calling on the federal government to make the legalization of immigrants currently living in the county an easier, quicker process.

“Require the federal government to make it possible in a relatively easy process for residents in our county to become citizens,” he said, and improve the quality of life.

The resolution, which County Attorney John Long said is largely symbolic and serves as an “expression of political will,” passed with commissioners Tom Manning and Ray Clark abstaining and County Judge Bruce Wood casting the tying vote.

Both Clark and Manning said they would have voted for the resolution had there not been some concern about the way it was listed on the special meeting agenda.

The item on the agenda read, “Discuss/Consider Resolution to Protect the Health, Safety and Security of the Residents of Kaufman County.”

There was no use of the words “immigrant” or “border crisis.”

Manning, in a phone interview with The Herald, said he didn’t want to violate the Open Meetings Act by voting on something that wasn’t expressly clear on the agenda.

“If the agenda’s not exactly correct, you set a precedent for voting on stuff” that’s not listed to be discussed, he said.

Long opened Monday’s discussion about the resolution expressing the same concern.

“Will the public know this item deals with immigration?” he asked.

Clark made a motion, seconded by Manning, to have the item tabled until the next commissioners’ court meeting when it could be placed on the agenda with more explicit language.

“I agree 100 percent with the resolution,” Clark said during the meeting, making a motion to table it per Long’s concerns.

Commissioners Jimmy Vrzalik and Kenneth Schoen voted against the motion and Wood cast the tie-breaking vote, saying he wished to proceed with passing the resolution.

District Attorney Erleigh Norville “Wiley felt like the posting was OK,” Wood said.

“I just don’t feel like we need to wait,” he added. “I think we need to get it out there.”

Long said that should any Kaufman County citizens object to the way the item was listed on the agenda, it could be placed on a future agenda for a second discussion and vote.

Border skirmishes: Perry, Cruz and Cornyn vie for leadership on border response

by Jonathan Tilove

Good day Austin:

Compared to events in Gaza and Ukraine, the crisis on Texas’ southern border seems positively benign. But, it’s the crisis we’ve got and it appears that it will be casting a large  – and growing – shadow on politics here in Texas and nationally, with Gov. Rick Perry and Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn playing leading, and contrasting, roles. The fact that Perry and Cruz are both seriously exploring running for president in 2016 adds another layer of intrigue and gamesmanship to the unfolding drama.

To simplify the Perry-Cruz dynamic, the border situation provided Perry with the first opportunity since Cruz’s extraordinary ascent of the last two years to get out from under Cruz’s shadow. Perry masterfully played President Obama’s visit to Texas to his political advantage. But Cruz, not one to let anyone – let alone a potential presidential rival from his home state – steal a march on him on an issue as consequential as this to the Republican base, quickly reasserted himself and, with his ear for distilling every issue down to its simplest essence – Defund Obamacare, Abolish the IRS – filed the Stop Obama’s Amnesty Act. On July 13 it was Perry on Fox News Sunday and Face the Nation talking about the border. This Sunday, it was Cruz on Fox News Sunday, while Perry was in Iowa “pre-campaigning.”

In the meantime, leading tea party voices in Texas were growing restive with Perry’s blaming Obama for what was going and insisting he should act unilaterally instead of waiting on Washington.

At a Capitol press conference last week, JoAnn Fleming of Tyler – head of Grassroots America and chair of the Texas Legislature’s Tea Party Caucus Advisory Committee – was joined by other tea party leaders in criticizing Perry for finger-pointing instead of acting, and called on him – and Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate to succeed Perry as governor – to immediately deploy the Texas National Guard in the face of an “imminent danger.”

Then, on Friday night, Julie McCarty, president of the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party, did an interview with former Farmers Branch Mayor Tim O’Hare on The Wells Report on 660 AM The Answer in Dallas.

“What we want is for Perry to put the Guard on the border, and everybody says, `Oh no, it’s the president’s job and the federal government needs to fund it.’ But it’s just not going to happen whether we like it or not, it’s not going to happen. We can wish for it all day long, but in the end, we need to just pay for it, suck it up and pay for it. Texas has the money. We have an overage in the state budget.”

McCarty continued: “Is Perry’s phone not constantly off the hook with citizens calling and demanding, `get this done,” so that Perry will finally grow some and do what he needs to do.”

After a short silence, O’Hare replied that McCarty was “preaching to the choir.”

“I’m a Gov. Perry appointee, I have a lot of respect for Gov. Perry, but on this particular issue, he’s finger-pointing, not leading,” O’Hare said

“I think everybody would agree that if Perry would just do this, if he would just send the Guard to the border, he would become first place for president of the United States, the whole country would be applauding him as a hero, and yet all he wants to do is listen to his donors, who are very pro-amnesty,” said McCarty.

This afternoon, Perry, flanked by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Attorney General Abbott, will announce that he is activating the Texas National Guard for border duty.

With word of that, I asked McCarty for her assessment. Her emailed reply:

It is absolutely the right thing for Gov Perry to activate the guard.  I’m very excited to see that he received enough grassroots pressure and has decided to act. The citizens of Texas who made calls and sent messages should be encouraged by this news because it would not have happened without them!  I’m grateful they raised their collective voices when it was necessary — credit and thanks for this progress goes to both Gov Perry AND we the people.  Many grassroots leaders around the state will continue to watch very closely.  It’s a fluid situation and will likely require further action, so we’ll continue to communicate to our Gov about it.

Meanwhile, Sen. Cornyn finds himself in the thankless position of offering a bipartisan compromise solution – with Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat  – in the form of the HUMANE Act.

Here is Cornyn’s office thumbnail description of the act.  Continue reading here.