Supreme Court Reinstates Trump’s Muslim Travel Ban: Your Texas Roundup
Plus: The state of Texas and local governments duke it out over Senate Bill 4, two Texas stars fall short in the NBA MVP race, and Crystal City’s former leaders are found guilty of corruption.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I love my name and I actually do love tacos. Although I am new to Texas, I quickly learned that nothing goes better with tacos than Big Red.”
—Dallas Cowboys rookie Taco Charlton, in a statement after signing his first endorsement deal, according to the Dallas Morning News. He might have inked a deal with Big Red first, but we sense a taco franchise in his future.
The U.S. Supreme Court reinstated parts of President Donald Trump’s travel ban from majority-Muslim countries on Monday, according to the New York Times. The court will hear oral arguments in October, so the ban—with specific limits of power—will temporarily be in effect until at least the fall. Two lower courts blocked the ban earlier this year, and SCOTUS then agreed to review both cases. The ban has big implications for Texas, which has the largest Muslim population in the U.S. and is a national leader in refugee resettlement. Trump’s executive order banned new visas for people from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 90 days and iced the U.S. refugee resettlement program for 120 days. Right after the ban first went into effect in January, there was chaos at airports across Texas, where attorneys, protesters, and family members gathered to try to secure the release of people who were detained, including children and elderly women. The ban also tore apart Texas families, stranding spouses and parents overseas while their loved ones were in America. SCOTUS’s main limit on the ban in allowing it to continue is that it can no longer be imposed on anyone with “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” That’s pretty vague, and it remains to be seen how this ban will actually play out for people from the effected countries attempting to enter the U.S. in airports and border crossing points across the country.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
SB 4 Showdown
A federal judge heard arguments in a San Antonio court on Monday over the so-called sanctuary cities law that is set to go into effect in September. According to the San Antonio Express-News, the plaintiffs—which include Texas’s four major cities, a handful of border counties, immigration advocate groups, and the little border town of El Cenizo—argued the law is too vague to properly enforce. Additionally, the plaintiffs said that Senate Bill 4 would be detrimental to public health, education, and the economy of Texas without making communities safer. The state’s lawyers made the case that SB 4—which would ban sanctuary cities and punish elected officials who don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities—is a moderate law that simply allows, rather than mandates, local law enforcement officers to ask a detained person about their immigration status.
Lone Star Snub
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook won the NBA MVP award on Monday night, beating out two Texas stars—James Harden of the Houston Rockets and Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs, according to ESPN. The vote wasn’t really close, with Westbrook getting 69 of 101 first-place votes, Harden 22, Leonard 9—but both Texas players had strong cases. For one, both Harden and Leonard led their respective teams to a much better record than Westbrook’s Thunder. The Spurs won 61 games and the Rockets 55, while Oklahoma City finished pretty far behind both of them with a 47-35 record. And while Westbrook had a ridiculous statistical season, breaking a record with 42 triple-doubles, Harden and Leonard had statistically amazing seasons too. Harden’s season was similarly historic, with the bearded wonder nearly averaging a triple-double. Leonard, meanwhile, was really in his own class by playing MVP-level ball on both offense and defense. It’s been a decade since the last NBA MVP played for a Texas team, with the Dallas Maverick’s Dirk Nowitzki winning the award after the 2006 to 2007 season.
Crystal City Crackdown
The former mayor and ex-city manager of Crystal City—also known as “the most corrupt little town in America”—were convicted by a federal jury in Del Rio on Monday on multiple counts of corruption, including bribery, wire fraud, and conspiracy, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Mayor Ricardo Lopez and former city manager James Jonas were found guilty on all counts, with some of the charges carrying up to twenty years in prison. Their sentences have yet to be set. One hundred federal agents swept through the South Texas city last year and rounded up every local leader except for one city councilman, leaving the city’s political leadership in shambles and putting it in the national spotlight. They were all indicted shortly after, along with a businessman, for soliciting bribes. Everyone except Jonas and Lopez pleaded guilty, and the trial for the two men began a week ago. Prosecutors played recordings made by informants who taped the two men soliciting bribes.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Some links are paywalled or subscription-only.
An in-depth look at Harris County’s broken bail bond system Houston Press
The police chief in Commerce has resigned after the arrest of 2016’s Miss Black Texas Dallas Morning News
SCOTUS kicked a controversial cross-border shooting case back to a lower court El Paso Times
A Mexican father and his three-year-old daughter attempt to make their way in the U.S. after crossing the border Washington Post
For the first time ever, the Texas Boys State program voted in favor of Texas secession Wise County Messenger