Politics

Political news

Julia Reihs / KUT

Congressman Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic candidate challenging U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for his seat, has so far resisted pressure from grassroots groups to call for abolishing the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The agency has become a lightning rod under the Trump administration.

Todd Wiseman / The Texas Tribune

The 2018 elections will move forward without any tweaks to Texas' political maps.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling to uphold all but one of the state's political districts, a three-judge federal panel in San Antonio on Tuesday ordered that the state's maps should stay in place for this year's elections despite outstanding issues with House District 90.

In a legal setback for the Trump administration's immigration policies, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., has ruled that the government may not arbitrarily detain people seeking asylum.

The ruling comes in a case challenging the administration's policy of detaining people even after they have passed a credible fear interview and await a hearing on their asylum claim.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

More than a month after a deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School left 10 dead and 13 injured, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is taking steps to tighten security in the southeast Texas school district, part of an effort by the state’s Republican leadership to “harden” schools as targets.

Despite nine candidates on the ballot, Republican Michael Cloud drew enough support to win Saturday's special election to fill former U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold's seat, sparing the GOP a runoff in the 27th District. 

With 89 percent of precincts reporting, Cloud was leading Democrat Eric Holguin 54 percent to 32 percent, according to unofficial returns. Cloud, a former chairman of the Victoria County GOP, needed to finish above 50 percent to avert a runoff later this summer.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Abortion rights advocates in Texas say the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy raises the stakes for laws passed by the state Legislature.

Kennedy has been the swing vote on rulings upholding access to abortions in the U.S. for decades. Most recently, he voted to strike down a Texas law known as House Bill 2, which forced the closure of multiple abortion clinics across the state.

In a move that could expand the powers of his office, Gov. Greg Abbott has told Texas state agencies to submit proposed new rules to him before they are made available for public comment.

Robin Jerstad for The Texas Tribune

Former state Sen. Carlos Uresti was sentenced Tuesday to 12 years in prison, four months after he was convicted of 11 felonies, including fraud and money laundering. After he's released, he faces three years' probation, according to multiple reports from his sentencing hearing.

The San Antonio Democrat will remain out on bond until October, when he’s scheduled for a second, unrelated criminal trial.

Gabriel C. Pérez

Civil rights attorneys say the Supreme Court's decision Monday in a Texas redistricting case showed how difficult it is to prove discrimination in voting laws.

The Supreme Court mostly sided with Republican lawmakers in the case, which challenged state House and congressional maps. Plaintiffs had argued lawmakers intentionally discriminated against minorities when they drew up the maps.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Thousands of Texas Republicans gathered in San Antonio on June 15 for their biennial convention. Over three days, delegates and elected officials laid out the party platform and got everyone excited about the midterms. A week later, Texas Democrats did the same at their own convention in Fort Worth. 

Shelby Knowles for The Texas Tribune

The U.S. Supreme Court partially upheld Texas’ political maps in a 5-4 ruling today.

Julia Reihs

Immigration took center stage at the Texas Democratic Party convention in Fort Worth last weekend. Delegates from across the state are concerned about the Trump administration policy that was separating families at the border until it was reversed last week.

Joan Brook for The Texas Tribune

FORT WORTH — Even before Texas Democrats’ convention officially got underway here this weekend, its top candidates were chomping at the bit to seize on the biggest story in the country: thousands of immigrant children being separated from their parents at the border.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

Texas Democrats are holding their biennial convention Thursday through Saturday in Fort Worth. There, they'll discuss the party’s platform for the coming year and organize ahead of a midterm election that they hope will be an opening for more Democrats to get elected in the state.

Carlos Morales/Marfa Public Radio

President Trump signed an order Wednesday to stop family separations at the southern border, but experts say the more than 2,000 children who have already been separated could face major mental health problems.

Leah Millis / Reuters

Embattled Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Washington on Tuesday – and she was targeted by protesters who are angry over the Trump administration's separation of children from their families along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Updated at 5:18 p.m. ET

President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday to end his controversial policy that has resulted in thousands of family separations and brought criticism from Democrats and Republicans.

"We're going to keep families together but we still have to maintain toughness or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don't stand for and that we don't want," Trump said Wednesday morning, when he announced that he would sign the order.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

WASHINGTON - After days of outcry, the Trump administration appears to be backing off of a contentious new policy that separated more than 2,000 immigrant children from their parents who crossed the border illegally.

The "zero-tolerance" policy, announced in April by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has mandated the separation of thousands of children from their parents who face criminal prosecution for illegal border crossings.

Leslie Boorhem Stephenson for The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott is asking Texans in Congress to take bipartisan action to address the crisis of thousands of immigrant children being separated from their parents.

Julia Reihs / KUT

What started as a California couple’s goal to raise $1,500 for immigrant legal services is now a multimillion fund to help families facing deportation along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Charlotte and Dave Willner wrote on Facebook on June 16 that they were “collectively revulsed” by the Trump administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy, which has led to children being separated from their parents at the southern border en masse.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Groups working with immigrant families in Texas say a Trump administration policy to separate families at the Mexico border is creating a strain on their resources and they don't know how long it will continue.

Robin Jerstad for The Texas Tribune

Finally heeding calls from his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, state Sen. Carlos Uresti announced his resignation Monday, four months after he was found guilty of 11 felonies. 

Updated at 7:55 p.m. ET

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is continuing to defend the Trump administration's controversial "zero tolerance" policy that results in separating children from their parents who enter the U.S. illegally.

Nielsen appeared at the White House press briefing on Monday, falsely blaming Democrats for the current crisis and arguing that the impetus is on Congress to pass a law to close legal loopholes.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

SAN ANTONIO — Texas GOP Chairman James Dickey has won re-election, beating back a challenge from longtime activist Cindy Asche after a long and bitter fight on the convention floor Friday.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Political party conventions are always about the future – the next election, to be specific, but also the five- and 10-year plan for growth.

The last couple of decades for Texas Republicans have been pretty rock solid. In 2014, Gov. Greg Abbott won the election by 20 points. And in the 2018 primaries, Republicans set records for voter turnout in an off-year election.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Texas' top Republican lawmakers spent the morning Friday revving up the crowd at their convention in San Antonio. Now the heavy lifting of this biennial event begins.

The delegates vote on a party chairman and then begin debate on the state party platform. The (currently) 38-page document lists the party's priorities, plans and ideals.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Thousands of Republicans are in San Antonio this week for the state convention. They'll bring plenty of red, white and blue clothing – along with elephant hats. But in the midst of the spectacle, there's work getting done by party officials and delegates. Here's a little checklist of what to watch for over the next three days.

Updated at 12:56 p.m. ET

A federal judge on Tuesday ordered a new hearing at which she is expected to consider accusations by prosecutors that former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort tampered with witnesses in his case.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson ordered Manafort, prosecutors, witnesses and others to be prepared to appear and to testify on June 15, according to the new order.

Prosecutors have asked Berman Jackson to rescind Manafort's bail and order him to jail ahead of his trial, which is scheduled for this autumn.

Laura Skelding/Douglas Young

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz has some breathing space from U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, according to a new poll released by Quinnipiac University on Wednesday. 

Pages