AUSTIN — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a legal brief supporting President Trump’s executive order for an immigration crackdown.

In his Feb. 15 brief with a San Francisco federal appeals court, Paxton defends President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.”

The states of Washington and Minnesota filed a complaint in a Seattle federal district court and were granted a nationwide temporary restraining order that blocked key provisions of the executive order regarding Trump’s proposed ban on travelers from several Muslim-majority countries considered to be terrorism hotspots.  On Feb. 9, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld the temporary restraining order. 

Soon afterward, federal agencies under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security conducted White House-ordered sweeps in major U.S. metropolitan areas, resulting in the arrests of hundreds of undocumented residents.

“The law,” Paxton said, “makes it very clear that the president has discretion to protect the safety of the American people and our nation’s institutions with respect to who can come into this country.”

State Sen. Sylvia R. Garcia, D-Houston, said on Feb. 16 that the executive order’s ban on travelers from several Muslim-majority countries was “ill-conceived, unconstitutional and poorly executed in the first place.” 

“Now,” Garcia continued, “our state tax dollars are being spent trying to defend the exclusion of people based on false claims of security. It's wasted money when we need to focus on the things that matter to Texas." Garcia serves as chair of the Texas Senate Hispanic Caucus.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly confirmed that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement launched a series of targeted enforcement operations in which more than 680 individuals were arrested. He said those arrested “pose a threat to public safety, border security or the integrity of our nation’s immigration system.”

Accreditation list is posted

The Texas Education Agency on Feb. 17 released accreditation status reports for school districts and charters for academic year 2016-2017. 

Accreditation is based on state academic accountability ratings, the Financial Integrity Rating System of Texas, data reporting, special program effectiveness and compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.

The state is home to 1,199 public school districts and charter school districts. Of those, 1,180 — or 98 percent — received a status designation of Accredited, which means they have met academic and financial standards, the TEA reported.

An accreditation status for each school district and charter school district can be found on the Texas Education Agency website at

TxDOT reaches centennial

The Texas Department of Transportation is soon to celebrate its 100th year of service in its mission to move people and goods across the Lone Star State. 

Founded as the Texas Highway Department on April 4, 1917, TxDOT has grown into one of the state’s largest agencies, with more than 11,000 employees maintaining 80,000 miles of roadways.

TxDOT Executive Director James Bass, in a Feb. 6 news release, invited the public to visit where they can “Track the Truck” to locate a traveling exhibit that tells the district-by-district story of the agency’s history in a refurbished, 27-foot-long 1918 Liberty Truck making its way across the state. 

“Our traveling centennial exhibit affords us a great opportunity to thank the public and share a uniquely historical perspective of how our roadways have evolved from their early beginnings into the expansive network we know today,” Bass said. 

DPS helps in rescues

The Texas Department of Public Safety on Feb. 15 announced that state troopers, with the support of the DPS Interdiction for the Protection of Children program, the Texas Rangers and DPS special agents, rescued 76 missing, exploited or at-risk children and initiated 42 related criminal investigations in 2016.

The IPC program was implemented in 2009 to teach law enforcement officers how to recognize indicators of endangered children who do not actively seek out help or exhibit obvious signs of abuse. As a result of receiving this specialized and targeted training, law enforcement officers can more readily identify and rescue children and arrest suspects, according to the DPS news release’

“Children who go missing, who are abused or at risk of being abused don’t always make an outcry for help when they encounter an officer,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw.