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Stories by Maurice Chammah

White House nixes secession petitions, calls for healthy debate

Responding to petitions from Texas and seven other states calling for the right to secede, the White House called for healthy debate, but to not let "that debate tear us apart."... Read more»0

Petition renews talk of Texas secession

An online petition asking the U.S. government for permission for Texas to withdraw from the country and create a "new government" has reached 25,000 signatures. The Obama administration, according to terms officially laid out by the White House, is now required to respond to the petition "in a timely fashion."... Read more»0

Trafficking crimes tough to measure, harder to combat

Lawmakers will address the challenges of combating human trafficking in Texas — a state known as a national center for the difficult-to-measure crime — at a joint interim hearing in Houston on Tuesday. Texas has created harsher penalties for the crime, but advocates say it's hard to know whether they are working.... Read more»0

Advocacy groups target private prisons for immigrants

The unnecessary prosecution of nonviolent illegal immigrants is sending ever larger numbers to poorly managed private prisons, a coalition of advocacy groups said, calling on Congress to reject $25.8 million for 1,000 new private prison beds. ... Read more»0