Immigration

As U.S. immigration enforcement becomes stricter under the Trump administration, more immigrant families are cutting ties with health care services and other critical government programs, according to child advocates who work with these families.

In Texas, researchers studying the issue say it's a major reason why more children are going without health insurance.

The Trump administration's treatment of more than 10,000 immigrant children held in custody at shelters across the nation is coming under intense scrutiny. Numerous lawsuits claim the government is using the system of child confinement as a way to punish and deport kids and their families.

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President Trump used his first prime-time address from the Oval Office to make the case for his controversial border wall. The president's demand for $5.7 billion in wall funding — and Democrats' opposition — has led to a partial shutdown of the federal government.

Here we check some of the arguments made by the president and top Democrats in their response.

Trump's Speech

Claim 1: Humanitarian and security crisis

"There is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our Southern border."

Updated at 11:27 p.m. ET

President Trump made his case to the American people Tuesday night for why a massive wall along the Mexican border is necessary, using his first Oval Office address to outline his conditions for ending the 18-day-and-counting partial government shutdown.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen traveled to Texas and Arizona on Friday and Saturday, citing an "unprecedented" increase in the apprehensions of families and unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

"The system is clearly overwhelmed," Nielsen said in a statement. Nearly 50,000 family units were caught by the U.S. Border Patrol in October and November, according to Department of Homeland Security data, a fourfold increase over the same period last year.

Image via Flickr/Hadley Paul Garland (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Over the weekend, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, began releasing large numbers of mostly Central American migrants from detention facilities in El Paso. The releases have continued, with the agency letting 500 migrants go Wednesday.

Ivan Pierre Aguirre / Texas Tribune

EL PASO – The immigration detention center for undocumented migrant youth at Tornillo, Texas will remain open into next year, the federal Health and Human Services agency confirmed Thursday.

For the third day in a row, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials released hundreds of migrant asylum-seekers at a park near a bus station in downtown El Paso. The comparisons to Mary and Joseph wandering the roads of Bethlehem seeking shelter are unavoidable for dozens of volunteers who have stepped in to help. Especially on Christmas Day.

"I kept having the phrase go through my head last night, 'There's no room at the inn, we've got to make some,'" Kathryn Schmidt, a social worker who co-founded the Borderland Rainbow Center, an LGBTQ community center, told NPR.

Updated at 9:15 a.m. ET Wednesday

An 8-year-old boy from Guatemala has died in government custody, U.S. Customs and Border Protection says.

The boy died just before midnight on Monday, at a hospital in Alamogordo, N.M. He is the second child this month to die in CBP custody after being apprehended by the agency.

The Guatemalan Foreign Service has identified the boy as Felipe Gomez Alonso, NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.

Veronica G. Cardenas for The Texas Tribune

A federal judge on Wednesday struck down the bulk of a recent White House policy that made it more difficult for victims of domestic and gang violence to seek asylum in the United States.

Updated at 4:57 p.m. ET Friday

A 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who crossed the southern border into the United States illegally earlier this month died of dehydration and shock after being apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol in New Mexico.

Michael Duke/Jewish Herald-Voice

From Texas Standard:

The largest Conservative Jewish synagogue in the U.S. is not on the East Coast – it's in Houston. Congregation Beth Yeshurun is made up of 2,300 families and was founded in 1891. Now, Rice University aims to shine a light on it and the rest of South Texas's Jewish community and history through its new Houston Jewish History Archive.

Director Josh Furman acknowledges that Houston is not the first place that comes to mind when people think of Judaism in the United States. But he wants to change that. 

Charlotte Carpenter for KUT News

With less than two weeks of open enrollment left, Austin nonprofit Foundation Communities says it's reporting a noticeable decline in the number of Latinos signing up for health insurance through healthcare.gov, the federal insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act.

Congressional leaders are planning to delay a spending fight until after the memorial ceremonies for former President George H.W. Bush are completed.

House leaders are drafting a bill to postpone a potential government shutdown from midnight on Friday night to the end of the day on Dec. 21.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A new study suggests a proposed Trump administration policy could discourage immigrant families from enrolling their citizen children in public health insurance programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, also known as CHIP.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

The Austin-based nonprofit that houses more migrant children than any other organization in the country plans to hire an independent attorney who will conduct a "comprehensive internal review" of issues outlined in an investigative story by The New York Times.

A federal court in San Francisco has temporarily blocked the Trump administration's new asylum ban, saying it violates existing law and would cause irreparable harm to immigrants.

Earlier this month, President Trump issued a proclamation saying anyone crossing the U.S. southern border without doing so through an official port would be ineligible for asylum.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Center for Constitutional Rights and others quickly filed lawsuits seeking to block the order.

President Trump's effort to limit the number of people seeking asylum in the United States faced legal challenges in two different federal courts on Monday.

Updated Friday at 5:08 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is taking steps to stem the flow of Central American migrants crossing the U.S. border from Mexico.

The administration issued a new rule Thursday designed to prohibit migrants who cross the border outside of designated entry points from seeking asylum in the United States.

For residents of the Rio Grande Valley, immigration is more than an election issue. It doesn't ebb and flow with the tides of politics; it is embedded in the lives of people who live there.

Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

EL PASO — President Donald Trump on Thursday doubled down on his intent to militarize and fortify the border against a caravan of Central American asylum-seekers slowly making their way toward the United States, saying his administration recently did away with "catch and release" for undocumented immigrants and plans to erect tents to hold future border crossers — including their children — until their immigration cases are resolved.

President Trump says he can end birthright citizenship with an executive order. But most legal scholars — and even leaders of the president's own party — are skeptical.

In an interview with Axios, published Tuesday, the president said he wants to end the automatic right to citizenship for babies born in the U.S. to noncitizens.

Julia Reihs / KUT

President Donald Trump suggested in an interview that he could sign an executive order eliminating automatic citizenship for children born in the U.S. to noncitizens. If he follows through, the order would undoubtedly set off a legal challenge that would ultimately end at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Updated at 5:35 p.m. ET

House Speaker Paul Ryan pushed back on Tuesday on President Trump's claim that he can strip birthright citizenship from the U.S. via executive order, saying such a move would be "unconstitutional."

Updated at 5:05 p.m. ET

The U.S. military will send approximately 5,000 support troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, the Pentagon announced on Monday.

The exact number could be slightly higher or lower, a Pentagon official told NPR. The official said the deployment is being done to support the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection.

The uniformed troops are likely to be active-duty Army personnel, with perhaps some members of the Army Reserve and Marines. There are already 2,100 National Guard members deployed to the border.

Updated at 7:45 a.m. ET Friday

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to sign an order sending at least 800 U.S. troops to the U.S.-Mexico border as a caravan of thousands of migrants heads north from Central America.

Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune

The Trump administration is expected to send 800 or more troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to support border enforcement already stationed there at a time the president has called a “national emergency.”

Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune

For the second time this week, President Donald Trump’s administration has announced its intent to proceed with parts of a new border barrier despite a lack of new funding from Congress to pay for his high-profile campaign promise.

There are still many unknowns about the fate of children separated from their families at the border. But in a recent investigation by the Associated Press, reporters discovered loopholes that could lead to deported parents losing their kids to adoption in the U.S.

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