When Gov. Greg Abbott toured the National Guard Armory in Weslaco last week and met with hundreds of Texas National Guard troops deployed to the Rio Grande Valley, he made a point to tell the media afterward that “the morale of the troops is very high.”
He said this proactively — not in response to a question. That leads us to believe that his administration remembers well, and hopefully wants to avoid, the low morale suffered by National Guard troops and the criticisms about how they were utilized when they first were dispatched in 2014 to guard the border following an uptick in illegal immigration.
Gov. Abbott said these new troops will not participate in arrests or chases of immigrants, but he stressed that they are a necessary “force multiplier.” And they are “awaiting final instructions from Homeland Security and the Department of Defense,” on what exactly the National Guard will do here this time around.
Continue reading EDITORIAL: A ‘force multiplier’ for border agents
Here we go again.
Hundreds of National Guard troops on Friday began deploying to the Rio Grande Valley to guard the Southwest border, after President Donald Trump last week urged their activation, saying our border is lawless and allows anyone to come through.
“Our country has no effective border laws,” Trump tweeted.
We’ve played this song before, in 2014 when then Gov. Rick Perry activated 1,000 National Guard troops to our region as an uptick in illegal immigrants swelled through South Texas. At the time, we noted the restrictions that National Guard troops faced — not able to make actual apprehensions or arrests; not able to give chase. And so we ask how this time it will be better?
Continue reading EDITORIAL: Militarization of RGV border will hurt, not help, our region
When President Donald Trump recently signed the 2018 Omnibus Bill into law, which contained a small amount of what he wanted for a border wall (and included funds for 25 miles in Hidalgo County and 8 miles in Starr County,) he proclaimed his displeasure over the federal spending measure. And this weekend he seemed to take it out on Dreamers, ranting in disturbing tweets the following:
“Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. “Caravans” coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL!”
“These big flows of people are all trying to take advantage of DACA. They want in on the act!”
Continue reading EDITORIAL: Trump must negotiate DACA, not declare it ‘dead’
Since the blistering hot summer of 2014, when a few Catholic parishioners reached out to Sister Norma Pimentel to report an onslaught of immigrants mulling around downtown McAllen near the bus station — dirty, without shoelaces, some sleeping at the station and most very confused — our community has opened its arms to help these people.
We, in the Rio Grande Valley, all know the story: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were releasing thousands of immigrants on deferred adjudication, a legal status whereby the immigrants were allowed to travel to other cities and reunite with family members and loved ones as long as they promised to appear for their scheduled immigration court dates. A great many of these were women with children, some of whom had trekked for weeks, and even months with little food or clothes and endured many hardships.
Continue reading EDITORIAL: A humanitarian miracle started in the RGV
Ever since the idea was floated out three months ago — to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census — it has provoked much opposition. Nevertheless, the Trump administration this week decided the question will be asked.
And that has us asking why?
Especially in the Rio Grande Valley, a region where there are many undocumented immigrants, asking for this type of information surely will dramatically lower the number of respondents. And an inaccurate count will affects local funding, as well as accurate representation in Congress, which was why our Forefathers mandated in the U.S. Constitution that we hold regular census counts.
Continue reading EDITORIAL: Citizenship question on Census ‘could penalize’ RGV
While the Omnibus $1.3 trillion spending bill, which Congress passed Thursday and President Donald Trump signed on Friday, contains controversial funds for a border wall through the Rio Grande Valley, it also contains much needed money to increase the number of immigration judges nationwide.
Enough money, in fact, to add 100 more U.S. immigration judges and their staff, U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, told us.
Much thanks to Cuellar, who sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, and who once again successfully lobbied to increase necessary personnel to this judiciary branch that plays such an important role in this national immigration debate.
Continue reading EDITORIAL: Use funds to add US immigration judges quickly
As attention turned to Texas last week for the nation’s first electoral primary after President Donald Trump took office, a deadline passed Monday with virtually little mention: The end of the program that protected hundreds of thousands of Dreamers in this country.
Federal court rulings, essentially backed by the U.S. Supreme Court, forces the Trump administration to keep issuing renewals under this program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). But the executive branch of government is intent on abolishing this program, so no one should take DACA for granted. And although the reprieve given by a federal district judge in California applies to Dreamers who are seeking an additional two-year work permit; it does not apply to those seeking a work permit for the first time. And, thus the program is now closed to thousands.
While we have steadfastly supported the idea of allowing Dreamers to stay in this country legally, we have also expressed support for President Trump’s admonitions, when his administration announced the end of this program last September and that Congress should come up with a permanent solution for Dreamers.
Continue reading EDITORIAL: Lacks Congress isn’t working on DACA or immigration reform because the pressure is off