Daily Border Bulletin – Texas lawmaker: U.S.-Mexico border’s no war zone, Alabama Immigration Law Update Draws Criticism, Bucks National Trend, No Motive in Killing of Two Immigrants in Arizona

A hearing in the Texas state legislature heats up when State Senator Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso accuses State Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples of fanning the flames of border rhetoric which miss-characterizes the region as a war zone. A hearing on Alabama’s harsh anti-immigration law highlights the deep divide in the state as lawmakers and farmers joined sides with immigrant rights groups in voicing their strong disapproval of the law. Several days after the brutal murder of two unarmed undocumented immigrants riding in the back of a pick up truck in the Arizona border region, no motive has been found.

Texas lawmaker: U.S.-Mexico border’s no war zone A hearing in the Texas state legislature heats up when State Senator Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso accuses State Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples of fanning the flames of border rhetoric which miss-characterizes the region as a war zone. “A Texas state senator took issue Thursday with characterizing the entire U.S.-Mexico border as a war zone, bristling at a top agricultural official’s assertions that America’s food supply could be threatened because farmers are being run off their land by drug smugglers. But Staples’ comments drew sharp objection from Sen. Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso, which borders the violence-torn Mexican city of Juarez. “None of us can deny that there are incidents occurring on our side of the border.” he said. “It’s just the broad brush that is used to declare that we are in a war zone.” Rodriguez said he walks the streets of El Paso and surrounding county and, “I don’t feel like I’m in a war zone.”But he also stressed that the whole U.S.-Mexico border is being unfairly characterized. “What some of us are simply doing is raising the question: Are we in a war zone?” he said. “Are we being assaulted, are we losing our American food supply? Those don’t really capture the reality in our border regions.”

Alabama Immigration Law Update Draws Criticism, Bucks National Trend A hearing on Alabama’s harsh anti-immigration law highlights the deep divide in the state as lawmakers and farmers joined sides with immigrant rights groups in voicing their strong disapproval of the law. “As with Arizona, Alabama’s law has faced a torrent of criticism, and not just from the immigration advocates and civil liberties proponents who call it discriminatory and vicious. Farmers have complained about not finding enough laborers to pick their crops, businesses complained about confusing and onerous new regulations and police officers were uncertain about what the law required them to do. The state’s attorney general sent a letter to legislators suggesting revisions. Now Alabama lawmakers are debating a new immigration law that will address those concerns, according to its sponsors. In a statement, Gov. Bentley said the new legislation would clarify the law’s scope, bring some disputed provisions in line with federal law and reduce “unnecessary burdens on legal residents and businesses.”

No Motive in Killing of Two Immigrants in Arizona Several days after the brutal murder of two unarmed undocumented immigrants riding in the back of a pick up truck in the Arizona border region, no motive has been found. “Authorities in Arizona are investigating a shooting in the desert where officials say camouflaged gunmen opened fire on a group of undocumented immigrants to see if it was the work of vigilantes or border bandits. The men who were killed Sunday were part of a group of 20 to 30 undocumented immigrants crammed in a full-sized pickup truck driving in a wash in the remote desert outside of Eloy, about halfway between Phoenix and Tucson. Investigators have no suspects in custody and they don’t yet know who is responsible, Pima County sheriff’s Deputy Dawn Barkman said Thursday.  Five immigrants among the group later told investigators that as they were driving Sunday night, two or more camouflage-clad gunmen appeared and yelled “Alto!” Spanish for “Stop,” fired at them and ran away, Barkman said.

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