News Roundup: Texas Democrat Questions Border Patrol Chief About Ongoing Family Separations

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelFebruary 27, 2019 1:01 pm

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

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee is learning more about the role of federal officials in implementing President Donald Trump’s family separation policy.

At a hearing Tuesday, Texas Congresswoman Veronica Escobar asked about the circumstances under which children are still being separated from their parents. The El Paso Democrat questioned Carla Provost, chief of the U.S. Border Patrol.

“Chief Provost, you stated earlier that children are currently being separated from their parents when the parent has a criminal conviction – does that include illegal re-entry?” Escobar asked.

“It is not for standard entry; if they have a felony charge it can include illegal re-entry,” Provost replied.

A recent report from the Texas Civil Rights Project found 272 family separations have occurred in the McAllen area alone since the Trump administration announced an end to the policy last June. In 38 of those cases, children were separated from a parent or legal guardian.

President Trump has plenty of support in Texas. But as KUT’s Trey Shaar reports, a new poll suggests there’s also disagreement with him on a number of issues:

The Quinnipiac Poll finds Texas voters split 48 to 48 on the necessity of more wall along the border with Mexico. Most of the support comes from Republicans, men and voters over age 65. At the same time, most Texas voters responding to the poll are against President Trump’s emergency declaration as a way to get the money he wants for a wall. And most said undocumented immigration is not a national emergency. Majorities of respondents also don’t think the wall would significantly reduce violent crime or illegal drugs. As for the goals of the Texas Legislature, the poll finds 83 percent of Texas voters supporting multi-billion-dollar increases in spending on public schools. Quinnipiac surveyed more than 1,200 Texas voters in recent days. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent.

Texas lawmakers considered a bill that would give more health insurance options to parents who adopt children from Texas foster care.

For one thing, it seeks to address a health care coverage gap for adopted foster children. Currently, kids stop receiving coverage through a Medicaid program specifically for foster children as soon as they are adopted. And it can take up to 60 days for parents to enroll a child in a new state health program.

State Rep. James White, a Hillister Republican, authored the bill. One of his constituents Tammy Leger testified Tuesday on behalf of the measure. She said the daughter she adopted from foster care went six months without insurance covering her health needs.

“One carton of formula for her was $7; her extension sets are $14 apiece. Some smart aleck jerk at superior told me when I called and said this is not right, ‘If you don’t like it, call your legislator.’ Well, here I am. I don’t like it,” Leger said.

The bill was left pending in the House Human Services Committee.