News Roundup: Migrant Advocates Seek State Help For Overwhelmed Immigration System

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJuly 15, 2019 1:09 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Texas-based attorneys want state lawmakers to provide legal resources for migrants, to relieve pressure on the overwhelmed immigration system.

That’s one suggestion Texas House members considered during an hours-long joint hearing late last week, to discuss the increase in migrant families seeking asylum.

Jose Ramirez is with the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services or RAICES. He says more people are needed to process asylum applications.

“A very simple thing to be argued, to be requested is to provide more adjudicative, people who are qualified to adjudicate this incredibly high volume of applications because part of the problem is this backlog,” Ramirez says.

The two House committees, which are both chaired by Democrats, also heard from a variety of state officials and local officials. That included the mayor of Eagle Pass, Ramsey English Cantu. He says it would be a big help if the state could provide health screenings for migrants released into his city.

“While Border Patrol does an exceptional job in trying to get them checked through the hospital systems, communities like Eagle Pass don’t have the capabilities to handle the load from the citizens in general and then on top of that take on an additional need of screening from the asylum cases that are coming in,” Cantu says.


It’s not clear what options state lawmakers have to act, since they do not reconvene for the next legislative session until 2021.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke says he and his wife are both descendants of slave owners.

Texas Public Radio’s Lauren Terrazas has more on the former El Paso Congressman’s revelation.

O’Rourke revealed he was given documents showing his paternal great-great-great grandfather listed two women, Rose and Eliza, as possessions. The former El Paso congressman said his wife, Amy, also had an ancestor who owned slaves and another who was a member of the Confederate army.

O’Rourke said in a post on Medium he benefits from a system his ancestors built at the expense of others and as a presidential candidate, he will “do everything I can to deliver on this responsibility.”

O’Rourke has proposed several policies aimed at helping people of color. He said he would continue to support reparations for African Americans.

Dozens of Austinites gathered over the weekend to remember the life and legacy of Sandra Bland. Bland, a black woman, died by suicide in a Texas jail cell after she was pulled over for a traffic violation in 2015.

The City of Austin declared July 13 Sandra Bland Day – which coincided with the fourth anniversary of her death.

KUT News reports that Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, spoke at an event on Saturday honoring her daughter at Huston-Tillotson University. She said advocates realize it’s time to change the criminal justice system.

“I’ve seen a system that did not work for my family. Okay? Because at the end of the day someone should still be held accountable for what happened to Sandy. Someone should still be held accountable for so many other deaths that have occurred,” Reed-Veal said.

Bland was 28 years old when she died.