RACE & IMMIGRATION

Legalizing marijuana might have negligible impact on border security

After chasing away smugglers who were using rafts to bring drugs across the river, Border Patrol and Texas DPS agents inspect several large packages of marijuana abandoned near the Rio Grande shoreline. The packages were later found to weigh 313 pounds, making them worth an estimated $240,000 on the street.
After chasing away smugglers who were using rafts to bring drugs across the river, Border Patrol and Texas DPS agents inspect several large packages of marijuana abandoned near the Rio Grande shoreline. The packages were later found to weigh 313 pounds, making them worth an estimated $240,000 on the street.

Supporters of legal marijuana say it would help ease problems with drug smuggling at the southern border, but experts say drug cartels would probably just switch to other products.

At A&M, protests, big crowds and tension over white nationalist's speech

White nationalist Richard Spencer speaks at Texas A&M University in College Station while Preston Wiginton, who privately arranged the event, listens, on December 6, 2016.
White nationalist Richard Spencer speaks at Texas A&M University in College Station while Preston Wiginton, who privately arranged the event, listens, on December 6, 2016.

Richard Spencer's speech at Texas A&M drew more than a thousand protesters. As he preached white nationalism, tension was high and police in riot gear tried to maintain calm. 

Rep. Michael McCaul draws critics in bid to run Homeland Security under Trump

Congressman Michael McCaul visits the Texas Capitol for meetings with Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on border security on Feb. 18, 2015.
Congressman Michael McCaul visits the Texas Capitol for meetings with Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on border security on Feb. 18, 2015.

Some hardline illegal immigration opponents are increasingly arguing U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul does not have a strong enough record on the issue to run the Department of Homeland Security for President-elect Donald Trump.

Is Ciudad Juárez on the brink of a new gang war?

A municipal police officer at a crime scene in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The municipal police force was recently "purged" under the new chief of police Julien Leyzaola.
A municipal police officer at a crime scene in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The municipal police force was recently "purged" under the new chief of police Julien Leyzaola.

October was the deadliest month in Ciudad Juárez in nearly three years. Locals are anxious — and hopeful they're not witnessing a resurgence of the brutal drug war that plagued this Mexican border city from 2008 to 2011.

Election dealt some setbacks to Texas GOP's modest diversity

(L to R) State Reps. John Lujan and Rick Galindo and U.S. Rep. Will Hurd receive a last-minute campaign boost from Gov. Greg Abbott at The County Line barbecue restaurant in San Antonio on November 7, 2016.
(L to R) State Reps. John Lujan and Rick Galindo and U.S. Rep. Will Hurd receive a last-minute campaign boost from Gov. Greg Abbott at The County Line barbecue restaurant in San Antonio on November 7, 2016.

One-half of the Hispanic Republicans in the Texas Legislature lost their seats this election, but there were only six to begin with.

Undocumented immigrants fear what Trump will do to "sanctuary cities"

Immigrants and activists participate in press conference and rally on Nov. 19, 2015, before a 37-mile march to show support for immigration reform. The marchers planned to walk for three days, from the federal immigration detention facility in Taylor to the Texas Governor's Mansion in downtown Austin.
Immigrants and activists participate in press conference and rally on Nov. 19, 2015, before a 37-mile march to show support for immigration reform. The marchers planned to walk for three days, from the federal immigration detention facility in Taylor to the Texas Governor's Mansion in downtown Austin.

It’s not yet clear whether, or how, the Trump administration could make good on a promise to end "sanctuary cities." But the simple fact that he says he’ll try is enough to terrify many undocumented immigrants in Texas.

Many border drug smugglers avoid prison in Texas

A DPS trooper spots a motorist along Highway 83 in Starr County.
A DPS trooper spots a motorist along Highway 83 in Starr County.

In two key counties, less than a quarter of the “high-threat criminals” arrested by Department of Public Safety troopers for felony drug offenses during the state’s border surge have been sent to prison.

Most border arrests by Texas troopers are not for drug smuggling

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45-year-old Nickolas Mares is described by DPS as a “high-threat criminal,” though he only faced a drug possession charge. He can hardly speak from a stroke and lives with his mother in Rio Grande City.
45-year-old Nickolas Mares is described by DPS as a “high-threat criminal,” though he only faced a drug possession charge. He can hardly speak from a stroke and lives with his mother in Rio Grande City.

DPS has added more troopers to the border under the assumed objective that they're going after drug and human smugglers. But most of their arrests are for drunk driving and misdemeanor drug possession. 

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