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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Proposed Border Policing Unit Gains Traction in Texas

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Monday, May 15, 2023   

Legislation to create a "Border Protection Unit" is headed to the Texas Senate, while the governor said more needs to be done to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

Tens of thousands of asylum-seekers, mostly from South and Central America, are living along the border, having arrived before the COVID-related Title 42 policy of refusing entry to migrants for reasons of public health ended last Thursday.

The proposed Border Protection Unit would be authorized to "arrest, apprehend or detain" people who illegally cross and "repel" those who attempt to cross the border. It is unclear who would be allowed to join what some have called a "vigilante" unit.

Luis Figueroa, legislative affairs director for the group Every Texan, said compassion, not criminalization is what is needed.

"What we have seen across the state, is the rhetoric of invasion, the rhetoric of anti-immigrant sentiment has led to an increase in hate crimes -- has led to actual violence against immigrants in different parts of the state -- different parts of the nation," Figueroa asserted.

Democrats in the Texas House of Representatives have argued the new unit would codify harassment of minorities and put the state in the business of immigration enforcement, which has historically been the federal government's job.

Figueroa explained migrants along the border who have shared their stories said they are trying to escape persecution in their own countries, and connect with family in the U.S. to find shelter and employment. He noted there is a long history of state residents helping those dislocated by events such as hurricanes, and this should not be treated differently.

"Supplies are needed, there are definitely shelters that need to be built, volunteers are needed," Figueroa outlined. "We need to stop referring to it as invasion, we need to stop referring to it as a threat and start addressing it as what it is: a humanitarian crisis."

Ahead of Title 42 ending, the Biden administration sent 1,500 active-duty troops to the border to perform data entry and warehouse support. At the same time, Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott deployed a specially trained elite unit of the National Guard called the "Texas Tactical Border Force" to El Paso and other hot spots along the Rio Grande.


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