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Torn between higher taxes and border hassles

As part of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s economic reforms in Mexico, the federal value-added tax in regions within about 12.5 miles of the border was raised this year to 16 percent from 11 percent, matching the rest of the country. As a result, economists and local government officials in Texas are eyeing millions in additional dollars being spent by Mexican residents who are willing to cross the Rio Grande to save on items from toilet paper to electronics.... Read more»

Guzman's arrest greeted with caution

The high-profile capture of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, the leader of Mexico’s ruthless Sinaloa drug cartel, should not stoke immediate fears of unrest on Texas’ southern border, analysts said Saturday.... Read more»

Texas looking at Mexican-American Studies classes

Supporters of adding Mexican-American studies as an official Texas high school course say time is running out for the State Board of Education to approve the class for next school year.... Read more»

Widow takes aim at law enforcement in Mexico

Months after her husband was killed by gunmen who entered the couple’s home in Guadalupe, Chihuahua — just across the Rio Grande from El Paso County — Lorena Acosta still couldn’t have a proper funeral for him. She didn’t have a body to bury.... Read more»

Legal status, not citizenship, in GOP immigration plan

Congressional Republicans unveiled a set of guidelines for comprehensive immigration reform on Thursday, saying immigrants should have a path to legal status only after paying fines and passing background checks.... Read more»

Texas immigration activists arrested protesting Secure Communities

Travis County, Texas, sheriff’s deputies on Monday saw firsthand what immigration-reform activists hope will be a series of civil disobedience protests across that state. As part of a publicity campaign, a group of six activists blocked the exit gate at the Travis County Jail; they were arrested and will likely be charged with criminal trespass. The protesters hope the actions will prompt county officials to reconsider a controversial finger-printing initiative opponents say deports non-violent undocumented immigrants.

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Texas border towns struggle to protect water infrastructure

More than 600 children in a South Texas border town may be prevented from returning to school on Monday because of a long-standing dispute over water rates, which have skyrocketed in recent years amid attempts to make badly needed upgrades to the town’s water infrastructure.... Read more»

Year in review: Little movement on immigration reform

The big news on the immigration front in 2013 is what didn’t happen. Advocates for reform, including the immigrant community, law enforcement, and business and faith-based leaders, hoped this was the year for a comprehensive overhaul of the country’s immigration system. They argued that the anti-immigrant rhetoric on the 2012 campaign trail had energized Democrats and rattled moderate Republicans, who they hoped would take action on immigration reform for the first time since 1986.... Read more»

ACLU lawsuit targets Feds over search of citizen

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents subjected a U.S. citizen to unwarranted searches, including vaginal probes and a CT scan, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union in a U.S. district court.... Read more»

More than 368,000 deported from U.S. in FY 2013

The Obama administration on Thursday announced that it deported 368,644 undocumented immigrants from the country during the 2013 fiscal year. That’s a decrease from the 409,849 removals in 2012. But that didn’t stop advocates for immigration reform from immediately criticizing the president for his administration’s continued record-setting deportations.... Read more»1

Immigration reform advocates open to piecemeal approach

Although U.S. House members are back in their districts after leaving the issue of immigration reform untouched, advocates for change — including members of the business community — have a clear message: We’re not going anywhere.... Read more»

Facing deportation, activist has no regrets

Even before a judge confirmed Wednesday what Edgar Torres Hernandez knew was coming — that he would soon be deported to Mexico — Torres remained confident that his controversial actions were the right thing to do. In September, Torres joined the so-called DREAM 34, a group of deported undocumented immigrants who had once lived in the U.S and marched to the Laredo port of entry to say U.S. immigration policies are unfair and to seek political asylum.... Read more»

Thousands of affidavits, few problems with Texas voter ID law

Tuesday marked the first statewide election in which Texas voters had to show a photo ID to cast their ballots, and though elections officials say the process went smoothly, some worry that could change in future elections with increased voter turnout.... Read more»

Could name change spur Texas voter ID issue? Officials say no

While most of the focus on the recently implemented Texas voter ID law has been related to allegations of racial discrimination, some online reports have recently raised concerns that the law could disenfranchise a different demographic: people who have legally changed their names, particularly women. But election officials say the concerns are unwarranted.... Read more»

U.S. and Mexico struggle to clean up Rio Grande

When the Rio Grande is swollen with rain, as it was recently in Laredo, it’s hard to tell that more than 5 million gallons of raw sewage spill into its waters every day. But kayak through the little creeks on the side of the river bordering Mexico, and the odor is unmistakable.... Read more»

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