No need for full border wall, Trump says
LOS ANGELES TIMES — President Trump, who made the building of a wall along the border with Mexico a central promise of his campaign, significantly scaled back the pledge Thursday. “You don’t need 2,000 miles of wall because you have a lot of natural barriers,” Trump said to reporters on Air Force 1 during his flight to Paris. “You have mountains. You have some rivers that are violent and vicious. You have some areas that are so far away that you don’t really have people crossing. So you don’t need that.”
Democrat warns immigrants to prepare for ‘mass deportations’
THE WASHINGTON TIMES — A key member of Congress is warning illegal immigrants to be prepared for “mass deportations” after emerging from what he characterized as a disappointing meeting with Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly. Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat who has been a chief defender of immigrants’ rights, said as many as 1 million people here on temporary amnesties from deportation could see their status expire, and could face deportation.
Rights groups sue U.S. government, alleging it is turning away asylum applicants at Mexico border
THE WASHINGTON POST — A group of immigration lawyers and advocates filed a class-action lawsuit Wednesday against Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly and other top U.S. officials, alleging that guards along the U.S.-Mexico border have systematically violated the law by turning away people who are seeking asylum. The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in California alleges that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have used a range of tactics to deny people their right to state their fears of persecution and apply for asylum, including “misrepresentations, threats and intimidation, verbal abuse and physical force.”
Lawsuit claims US has threatened and misled immigrants seeking asylum
THE GUARDIAN — US border officials have systemically blocked asylum seekers from accessing the asylum process, in violation of US and international law, according to a lawsuit filed by immigration advocates on Wednesday. A collection of legal groups brought the suit, which claims that the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) have put asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border in grave danger by threatening, misleading or rejecting them.
Trump seeks talks to overhaul South Korean trade deal
ABC NEWS — The Trump administration is seeking talks that could lead to the renegotiation of a free-trade agreement with South Korea. U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer said in a letter Wednesday to South Korean Trade Minister Joo Hyung-hwan that the United States wants to meet to discuss “possible amendments and modifications” to the pact that that went into effect five years ago under President Barack Obama. The terms of the trade deal call for the talks to begin within 30 days.
Texas falls to No. 4 in America’s Top States for Business
CNBC — For the first time in 11 years, Texas finished outside of the top two spots in our America’s Top States for Business rankings. This year the Lone Star State fell to No. 4, down two spots from last year. The state scored 1,602 points out of 2,500 in our annual study.
Changes Steer Beef Markets Toward the U.S.Changes Steer Beef Markets Toward the U.S.
STATFOR — The global beef trade is going through a major shake-up. The largest producer, the United States, has just opened the fastest growth market, China, to its products for the first time in 15 years. One of the top exporters in 2016, India, has passed legislation that could severely constrain its supply. Meanwhile, two other major producers, Brazil and Australia, are struggling with their own constraints. With so much dust in the air, much is still unclear, but the one obvious winner from these developments appears to be the United States.
Abbot to begin his re-election effort back in San Antonio
DALLAS NEWS — Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to announce Friday that he’s running for re-election. On Wednesday, Abbott’s political committee said he “will make a campaign announcement” at the historic Southern Pacific Railroad depot called Sunset Station in downtown San Antonio on Friday afternoon.
Trial over Texas political maps starts in San Antonio
VALLEY MORNING STAR — Embarking on the latest chapter to the years-long battle over the state’s political maps, Texas and its legal foes on Monday faced off in federal court over minorities’ voting rights and the district boundaries the state should use in the 2018 elections. Focusing first on the state’s House map, minority rights groups suing the state began the trial by slogging through 10 hours of dense expert testimony, election analyses and state lawmakers’ methods of redrawing political boundaries in an effort to convince a panel of three federal judges that the state’s existing map is illegal and must be redrawn.
City of McAllen to sue state over Senate Bill 1004
VALLEY CENTRAL — The city of McAllen plans to sue the state over Senate Bill 1004. The legislation, which takes effect September 1st, states that cities cannot charge telecommunications companies for putting up wireless transmitters in the public right-of-way. “The state has, with all due respect, sort of appropriately pre-empted the city’s right to regulate our public lands and the use of our public lands, and we’re very concerned about that,” said McAllen city attorney Kevin Pagan.
Border Patrol Says It’s Barred from Searching Cloud Data on Phones
NBC NEWS — U.S. border officers aren’t allowed to look at any data stored only in the “cloud” — including social media data — when they search U.S. travelers’ phones, Customs and Border Protection acknowledged in a letter obtained Wednesday by NBC News. The letter (PDF), sent in response to inquiries by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and verified by Wyden’s office, not only states that CBP doesn’t search data stored only with remote cloud services, but also — apparently for the first time — declares that it doesn’t have that authority in the first place.
King: Use funding from food stamps, Planned Parenthood to pay for border wall
CNN — Congress should use money from its food stamp budget and Planned Parenthood funding to pay for a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico, Rep. Steve King said Wednesday. The House appropriations committee released its homeland security bill on Tuesday, which includes the full $1.6 billion requested by the Office of Management and Budget to begin construction on a southern border wall. The Iowa Republican, however, wants to more than triple taxpayer dollars spent on the wall.
Bodies are piling up in Mexico’s Drug War because El Chapo is gone
VICE NEWS — Alejandro Pesqueda was driving home from a party at 3 a.m. on Saturday when a corpse nearly crashed through his windshield. At first, Pesqueda didn’t realize the large green plastic bag that thumped onto the ground next to him contained a body. But after he stopped his car, he looked up and saw another human-shaped bag hanging from the overpass he’d just driven under. “If I’d been driving two meters to the right, it would have hit me,” the 29-year-old radio host said of the falling body he encountered in the city of Guadalajara. “You see this kind of thing in movies or on the news… but this scene made my blood turn cold.”
Prying Eyes: Border Sheriffs to Use Iris-Scanning Tech in Push for ‘Virtual Wall’
TEXAS OBSERVER — Before President Trump ever builds his “big, beautiful wall,” there could be a fortified virtual wall at the U.S.-Mexico border bristling with biometric technology. In the coming months, 31 counties along and near the border — including more than a dozen in Texas — will deploy a system that can “capture, catalogue, and compare individuals’ iris data, for use both in jails and out on patrol” with mobile, smartphone-based scanners, according to The Intercept.
Homeland Security chief has doubts about legality of immigration program
CHICAGO TRIBUNE — Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Hispanic lawmakers on Wednesday that a program that protects young immigrants from deportation is likely illegal, though he is personally supportive, according to House members. Kelly attended a closed-door meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, who pressed him on former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrival Program. DACA gives hundreds of thousands of young people brought into the country as children protection from deportation and a work permit.
Co-working, child care location to open in South Austin
SPECTRUM NEWS AUSTIN — A new co-working space in South Austin is getting a lot of buzz among working parents. Poised to open in the fall, “The Hive” on Old Manchaca Road will offer child care, the first business of its kind in Austin to do so. As a freelance graphic designer and mother, owner Shelly Weiser said whenever projects needed attention, it was difficult to find a place where she could work and supervise her two kids.