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Top Stories: Outrage Continues Over Trump Administration's 'Zero Tolerance Policy'

Sally Beauvais
Marfa Public Radio
Protesters in Tornillo, Texas, marched against family separation at the border over the weekend.

The top local stories this evening from KERA News:

Outrage continues to grow in Texas and across the country over the Trump Administration's so-called “zero tolerance” policy, which separates families accused of entering the U.S. without legal permission – many of whom are seeking asylum.

Politicians and advocates are flocking to the U.S.-Mexico border to visit immigration detention centers and turn up the pressure on the Trump administration amid growing bipartisan uproar.

Democratic lawmakers, including U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro of San Antonio, visited two child detention facilities today in Brownsville, operated by the Texas-based nonprofit Southwest Key. Castro announced he would be introducing legislation that would grant lawmakers access to detention facilitieslike those – and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz said Monday he would also introduce emergency legislation aimed at keeping immigrant families together while they are detained.

Texan Republican Congressman Will Hurd has also been criticizing the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy – along with House Speaker Paul Ryan and former First Lady Laura Bush, who called the separation policy "cruel" and "immoral" in a guest column for The Washington Poston Sunday. And church groups and human rights advocates have sharply criticized the policy, calling it inhumane.

More than 2,000 children have been taken from their parents since April, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the administration’s "zero tolerance" policy.

President Donald Trump is emphatically defending the practice, vowing he won't let the U.S. become a "migrant camp" on his watch, and that the administration is simply enforcing laws that have already been on the books – although that’s not true. There are no laws that require children to be separated from their parents at the border.

But Lomi Kriel, an immigration reporter with the Houston Chronicle, said there is a law that makes it a “federal misdemeanor to cross between ports of entry.” Kriel talked about this with Texas Standard's David Brown.

Other stories this evening:

  • Yesterday, thousands of protesters filled the streets of Tornillo, Texas – just outside of El Paso – to rally against the separation of immigrant children from their parents. Mexico border correspondent for the Dallas Morning News – Alfredo Corchado – was on the scene. And today on Think, he talked with Krys Boyd about why peoplefeel so passionate about this issue. Alfredo Corchado's new book is called "Homelands: Four Friends, Two Countries, and the Fate of the Great Mexican-American Migration."

  • Fewer refugees are coming to the United States following President Trump's admissions cap. But of the refugees who do enter the country, many actually end up in Texas. They may arrive with little, but they bring enough with them to keep old traditions flourishing. In Dallas, there are a handful of community gardens where refugees plant their favorite vegetables from home. Megan Zerez reports that they're growing new traditions and helping shape the city's culture – through food.

You can listen to North Texas stories weekdays at 8:22 a.m. and 6:20 p.m. on KERA 90.1 FM.