RACE & IMMIGRATION

Demand for Bilingual 911 Services Growing

Downtown El Paso at night.
Downtown El Paso at night.

While Texas continues its demographic march into diversity, only one city — El Paso — requires its 911 emergency call takers to be fluent in English and Spanish. Other cities are striving to keep up with the need to handle emergency calls in a wide range of languages.

Advocates Call for Release of Some LGBT Asylum-Seekers

Supporters of LGBT asylum-seekers rally at a church in Austin.
Supporters of LGBT asylum-seekers rally at a church in Austin.

A growing number of asylum-seekers are asking for safe haven based on a factor that isn't usually associated with a need to flee one's homeland: gender identity. In the days before the Supreme Court ruled in a landmark gay marriage case, immigrant rights groups were drawing attention to the plight of LGBT immigrants.

Feds to Curtail Use of Family Detention Centers

Protestors left their signs on the fence surrounding the South Texas Family Residential Center near Dilley, Texas on May 2, 2015.
Protestors left their signs on the fence surrounding the South Texas Family Residential Center near Dilley, Texas on May 2, 2015.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced Wednesday that families that enter the country illegally to seek asylum will no longer be detained after they’ve established a legitimate claim for relief.

Perry: Removing Confederate Flag "Act of Healing"

Rick Perry speaks to an audience of veterans and supporters at a fundraiser for the Puppy Jake Foundation, which trains service dogs for wounded war veterans, at Hotel Pattee in Perry, Iowa, on June 6, 2015. Following the fundraising event, Perry led a motorcycle ride for veterans from Perry to Boone, Iowa, where he spoke at U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst's Roast and Ride.
Rick Perry speaks to an audience of veterans and supporters at a fundraiser for the Puppy Jake Foundation, which trains service dogs for wounded war veterans, at Hotel Pattee in Perry, Iowa, on June 6, 2015. Following the fundraising event, Perry led a motorcycle ride for veterans from Perry to Boone, Iowa, where he spoke at U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst's Roast and Ride.

Former Gov. Rick Perry expressed support Monday for taking down the Confederate flag in South Carolina that has become a lightning rod of controversy since a deadly shooting at a church there.

Decades After Racial Strife, Returning to Texas A&M

Bill Mahomes in his office at Mahomes & Bolden PC in Dallas. Mahomes was the first black cadet to make it through the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and is now a member of the Texas A&M System Board of Regents.
Bill Mahomes in his office at Mahomes & Bolden PC in Dallas. Mahomes was the first black cadet to make it through the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and is now a member of the Texas A&M System Board of Regents.

Forty-five years ago, Bill Mahomes endured suspicion and scorn as the first black student to graduate from Texas A&M University's Corps of Cadets. Now, he helps run the school. 

Church Offers Haven to Lesbian Facing Deportation

Sulma Franco, 31, talks to reporters at her make-shift shelter at First Unitarian Universalist Church in Austin, Texas.
Sulma Franco, 31, talks to reporters at her make-shift shelter at First Unitarian Universalist Church in Austin, Texas.

An Austin church has offered sanctuary to an undocumented Guatemalan immigrant who said returning to her homeland means violence, abuse or even death. As a lesbian, Sulma Franco said she is fighting for herself and others at risk because of their sexual orientation. 

Border Crossings Down; State Buildup Forges Ahead

The Catholic Charities shelter at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen has provided assistance to hundreds of displaced immigrants who have crossed the Texas-Mexico border.
The Catholic Charities shelter at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen has provided assistance to hundreds of displaced immigrants who have crossed the Texas-Mexico border.

The numbers of unaccompanied children and families illegally crossing the border into Texas have fallen dramatically, but Gov. Greg Abbott says the state is still justified pumping about $800 million into beefing up border security.

 

Mexico Loosening Rules for Armed U.S. Agents

New Federal Inspection Station encompassing Mexican and US Customs at Laredo International Airport, Tuesday, March 11, 2014.
New Federal Inspection Station encompassing Mexican and US Customs at Laredo International Airport, Tuesday, March 11, 2014.

Texas lawmakers are celebrating news that Mexico will soon allow U.S. agents to carry guns while inspecting cargo on Mexican soil. The change should help speed trade between the two countries.

 

Despite Early Momentum, Immigration Bills Fall Flat

Texas Association of Business CEO Bill Hammond, speaks in favor of HB 1403 which was passed in 2001 and grants all Texans in-state college tuition regardless of immigration status on April 13th, 2015
Texas Association of Business CEO Bill Hammond, speaks in favor of HB 1403 which was passed in 2001 and grants all Texans in-state college tuition regardless of immigration status on April 13th, 2015

Though campaign promises to enact immigration-enforcement measures and repeal in-state tuition for undocumented students didn't see the light of day, Republicans who championed the measures said they'll be back next session to try again.