News Roundup: Texas Groups React to Trump Rules Penalizing Immigrants Receiving Public Benefits

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Kristen CabreraAugust 13, 2019 1:18 pm

Texas groups are reacting to Trump administration plans to significantly expand a rule that penalizes immigrants seeking permanent residency for using public benefits.

As it stands now, the rule applies to people who primarily rely on the government for support– through cash assistance, for example.

When the rule change is finalized Wednesday using SNAP, non-emergency Medicaid or housing assistance will also be a strike against an immigrant’s application.

Cheasty Anderson with the Children’s Defense Fund of Texas says people are scared and have removed themselves and their kids from these programs.

“That’s what we want to avoid – people panicking and withdrawing their citizen children from these programs and then still applying for legal permanent residency and getting trapped by this wealth test,” Anderson says.

The wealth test deems an income at or below 125% of the federal poverty level as a strike against the applicant.

Anderson stresses that programs like WIC, CHIP and school lunches will NOT be included in the rule change. The changes are scheduled to take effect 60 days after they’re finalized.

Outside the El Paso Walmart where 22 people were killed, a memorial remembering the dead is growing. Texas Public Radio’s Joey Palacios reports people attending the site, including members of Congress, absorb the gravity of the shooting – which police say was targeted against Hispanics.

The memorial that began with a few flowers now is a wall of thousands of candles, balloons, banners, and poster boards. Messages of love, support, and prayer. There are also 22 crosses with the names of the dead.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents Houston stopped by the site after visiting victims in the hospital and attending a funeral mass.

“El Paso needs healing, we need to come in a spirit of healing, in a spirit of reconciliation – but a resolve, resolve that this should never happen again,” Rep. Lee says.

She also says the federal government needs to play a role in uniting the country as a multicultural nation.

The newest campaign ad by presidential candidate and former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro references the mass shooting in El Paso.

The message directly addresses President Trump and the arguments that his words have lead to violence.

The gunman in the El Paso shooting admitted he drove from a Dallas suburb to the border city determined to shoot Mexicans.

Castro’s campaign team says the ad will run on the local Fox TV station in Bedminster, New Jersey – where President Trump will be vacationing – beginning Wednesday.