© 2024 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Texas Matters: Paxton strikes back and Venezuelans at the border

Ways To Subscribe
Migrants line before authorities in Eagle Pass after presenting themselves for asylum.
Gaige Davila
Migrants line up before authorities in Eagle Pass after presenting themselves for asylum.

In case you missed it, Ken Paxton is once again the attorney general of Texas. The indicted Republican managed to avoid being convicted in his impeachment, despite the overwhelming amount of evidence. And there is even more evidence of political witness-tampering with some of the Republican senators who voted to acquit Paxton.

Now Paxton goes back to his powerful office and is promising payback—which could result in a civil war in the Texas GOP.

Meanwhile, there could soon be a special legislative session. Lawmakers are being called back to Austin next month for a special session on the already continuous school vouchers.

For more on the post-Paxton-impeachment fallout, we turn to Scott Braddock, the editor of the Quorum Report, the most read political newsletter in Texas. Braddock also helped create and hosts the Texas Take Podcast in collaboration with the Houston Chronicle.

Venezuela in Crisis

In recent days, thousands of migrants fleeing mainly Venezuela have crossed the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass, Texas and surrendered to immigration authorities. The numbers are so great that existing shelters are being overwhelmed.

Rolando Salinas Jr. is the mayor of Eagle Pass. He signed an emergency declaration to allow the city to apply for state resources and funding to handle the number of migrants being released by immigration officials.

There are already thousands of Venezuelan migrants in the United States with asylum claims. To help take the strain off of local governments, the migrants are now eligible to apply for work permits immediately.

This week, the Biden administration further expanded the opportunities for work authorization for recent migrants by extending Temporary Protected Status to more than 400,000 Venezuelans. The new status, known as TPS, allows Venezuelan migrants to apply immediately for work permits.

The U.S. asylum system was not created to be used like this, however. It was expected to be employed on an infrequent basis to handle only a fraction of the numbers now seen.

There is an important conversation to be had about what is happening in Venezuela and how that nation’s failure is connected to what is happening at the southern border. But we must also ask whether or not the United States foreign policy with Venezuela bears some responsibility for this situation.

For over 17 years, the United States has imposed sanctions in response to activities of the Venezuelan government and its leaders for human rights abuses, corruption, and antidemocratic actions.

Julia Preston is a contributing writer at the Marshall Project. Her latest article is “Migrants Desperate for Jobs Trapped in Asylum Maze.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi