Texas Observer

The Faces of Trump’s Immigration Crackdown in 2017

Five days into his presidency, Donald Trump issued a pair of executive orders that put America’s entire undocumented population on the table for deportation. The cold, bureaucratic language read: “We will not exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.”

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Texas’ Other Death Penalty

Author's Note: I have received permission to share my patients’ stories, and changed or omitted some names. This is a personal essay; the views are my own and do not reflect those of St. Vincent’s House or St. Vincent’s Student-Run Free Clinic.

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Inside the Total Catastrophe That Ensued After an Elected Libertarian Mayor Promised the 'Freest Little City in Texas'

The abandoned cop cars sat in Trina Reyes’ yard for eight months. She wanted them gone, but there were no police to come get them. Last September, the police department in Von Ormy — a town of 1,300 people just southwest of San Antonio — lost its accreditation after it failed to meet basic standards. Reyes was mayor at the time, so the three patrol cars, as well as the squad’s police radios and its computers, ended up at her home. It was just another low point in a two-year saga that she now counts as one of the most difficult experiences of her life.

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The Hard Reality of Poverty in Texas - a Large Proportion Are Single Mothers Trying to Get by

My 5-year-old daughter sits at the table, rocking back and forth in a rickety chair I should have replaced years ago. Peas and other discarded vegetables collect on the floor below her dangling bare feet.“OK, three bites of peas and you can have dessert,” I say.

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Texas Senate Votes to License ‘Baby Jails’ as Child Care Facilities

The Texas Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would license immigrant family detention centers, which critics call “baby jails,” as child care facilities. Democrats railed against Senate Bill 1018, which would allow prison firms to skip all the burdensome regulations that other child care facilities must follow.

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What Happens If Mom and Dad Get Deported?

At 6:30 a.m., three and a half hours before a free legal clinic was set to start at the Mexican Consulate in Austin, a dozen people were already camped outside. They huddled in blankets, gripping hot cups of McDonald’s coffee. By 10 a.m., more than 50 had arrived.

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Locked in Limbo: Ankle Monitors Hinder Immigrant Families Success

Gladys was sitting down to a plate of turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing at her first Thanksgiving dinner in America when a loud masculine voice cried out, “La batería está descargada; cárgala por favor.” (“The battery is dead; charge it please.”)

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GOP Legislators Take Aim at Church-State Separation

While many of us have been absorbed in the media spectacle surrounding all things Trump, the religious right in Texas has been busy laying out its agenda for the 2017 legislative session — redoubling its efforts to breach Thomas Jefferson’s wall of separation between church and state.

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Medical Abortion Becomes More Accessible in Texas (Again)

Finally, some good news for pro-choicers: after decades of diminishing abortion rights, access is on the rise again. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas’ draconian 2013 anti-abortion law — the one that gave rise to Wendy Davis’ filibuster — ruling it an unconstitutional “undue burden” on women. The decision paves the way for at least some of the 22 shuttered Texas clinics to reopen. That could take years, and some may remain closed, but another trend, the resurgence of the legal medical abortion, suggests that getting an abortion is becoming easier.

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How a Mayor's Campaign to Keep a Jesus Sign Brought Discord to a God-Fearing East Texas Town

If it hadn’t been for Will Rogers, the East Texas town of Hawkins might still be best known for its annual “Good Ol’ Days Celebration” or the 1995 legislative proclamation that named it the Pancake Capital of Texas. (Lillian Richard, who spent decades portraying Aunt Jemima in Quaker Oats ads, was born here in 1891). Those and other modest distinctions are listed in the town’s promotional brochures that promise “Tranquility… In East Texas.” But in the past few years, since Rogers arrived, tranquility isn’t what has put Hawkins on the map.

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