The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse says requests by federal immigration authorities to detain people held in jails across the U.S. increased by nearly a third from January to March this year. Detainers were filed with 2,200 law enforcement agencies, led by Houston, Los Angeles and Phoenix.
Undocumented workers make up as much as 50 percent of the construction workforce in Texas, and they’ll be sorely needed in Houston. “There is no way the existing (legal) workforce can make a dent in it,” said one construction executive.
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law a bill that protects immigrants who are in the country illegally from being detained solely because of their immigration status. Conservative Republicans had lobbied against the controversial legislation. Rauner said police support it.
Local courthouses have become the latest battleground in the federal government’s attempt to co-opt local criminal justice systems for immigration enforcement. The 15th-century doctrine of common-law privilege from arrest could be a useful precedent in their defense, says a University of Denver law professor.
The deaths of 10 Latinos trapped in an 18-wheeler in San Antonio cast a light on the use of big rigs in immigrant smuggling. But a Border Patrol agent says, “It has been going on certainly throughout the entire 30 years that I’ve been doing this.”
Staffing increases and technological improvements by the U.S. Border Patrol have helped reduce illegal immigration along the southwestern border in recent years. Yet hundreds continue to die annually during desperate bids to reach the U.S.
The attorney general says coveted federal grants will be withheld from cities unless they give federal immigration authorities access to jails and provide advance notice when someone in the country illegally is about to be released. Among the grants at stake: a popular program that provides police money to buy bulletproof vests and body cameras.