Immigration News Today: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Signs 'Comprehensive' Border Security Legislation
From the Department of Public Safety's (DPS) Regional Headquarters in Houston, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a "comprehensive" border security legislation, which will include the hires of 250 additional border troopers.
The bill, signed on Tuesday, adds onto the existing $800 million investment to the state's border security efforts. According to Abbott's office, the DPS will be responsible for hiring the 250 new troopers. In addition, the legislation calls for additional training and equipment on the border and "give prosecutors additional tools necessary to crack down on criminal cartel enterprises involved in human and drug smuggling."
"We cannot be naïve to the threat posed by drug cartels and transnational gangs. And Texas will not sit idly by while the federal government fails to do its job and secure the border," said Abbott in a statement. "I'm proud to sign legislation to implement measures that will help provide for the safety and security of communities across Texas."
Abbott also signed border-related bills including:
HB-10: Relating to certain criminal and civil consequences of trafficking of persons, compelling prostitution, and certain other related criminal offenses; to the prevention, prosecution, and punishment of those offenses, and to compensation paid to victims of those offenses.
HB-12: Relating to the border prosecution unit.
According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, one of the three federal immigration agencies under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, most of the apprehensions of undocumented immigrant children have been in Texas. Based on CBP's figures of the 2015 fiscal year so far, 13,249 undocumented immigrant children -- ages 17 and younger -- have been apprehended at the Rio Grande Sector, although it is a 60-percent drop compared to the 2014 fiscal year.
Abbott is also in the center of the lawsuit blocking President Barack Obama's deferred action programs. He sued the federal government over Obama's November 2014 immigration executive actions, specifically the implementation of the updated Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) programs. The DACA and DAPA programs would provide approximately 4.9 million undocumented immigrants a temporary, but renewable, three-year stay in the U.S. pending on requirements set by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
According to Abbott, and current Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Obama overreached his executive branch privileges when he announced his immigration executive actions. U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of the Southern District of Texas' Brownsville Division seemed to agree and issued a temporary injunction on the federal government from implementing the two deferred action programs. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) appealed to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the temporary injunction, but the request was denied. The lawsuit is still going.
Members of the Texas Organizing Project (TOP), advocating immigrant rights, have called for Abbott to meet with immigrant families and drop the lawsuit.
Abbott's lawsuit has received support from 25 additional U.S. states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: email@example.com.
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