The White House pressured the Democratic mayor of El Paso, Texas, to not declare a state of emergency over the city’s migrant crisis due to fear it would make President Biden look bad, The Post has learned.
At least three of the El Paso City Council’s eight members have urged Mayor Oscar Leeser to issue an emergency declaration in response to the thousands of migrants who’ve filled the city’s shelters and are being housed in local hotels, sources familiar with the matter said.
But Leeser admitted during a private phone conversation last month that he’d been directed otherwise by the Biden administration, one of the officials told The Post.
“He told me the White House asked him not to,” Council member Claudia Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez also said Leeser has repeatedly assured her that he’d declare a state of emergency “if things got worse” — without saying what that meant.
US Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas), whose district covers rural areas and border towns near El Paso, also said he heard similar accounts from other city officials.
“It is a sleight of hand what the administration is doing — pressuring the local government to not issue a declaration of emergency, to say as if everything is going OK,” he said.
Gonzales also alleged that the White House has done “the same thing in other parts of my district,” which have also seen huge numbers of migrants seeking refuge.
Leeser declined to speak with The Post but said in a prepared statement, “I don’t bow to pressure from any side.”
“I make decisions based on current circumstances and in the best interest of the citizens of El Paso,” the statement said.
Leeser also praised the federal government for providing his city with “critical” assistance.
At a Sept. 27 City Council meeting, Mayor Leeser also addressed the issue, saying Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) had urged him not to declare a State of Emergency, adding: “The White House has asked, at this point, for us not to do that and they’ll continue to work with us and continue to give us … money through [the] Federal Emergency Management Agency.”
Figures posted on El Paso’s official website show the city has received only $2 million in federal reimbursements toward the $8 million it has spent dealing with the migrant crisis.
The total cost could end up being much more, with ElPasomatters.org reporting in September the city was spending as much as $300,000 a day to shelter, feed and transport asylum-seeking immigrants.
In May, The Post first reported how officials in El Paso were considering declaring a state of emergency ahead of the expected ending of pandemic-related expulsions of border-crossers under Title 42 of the federal Public Health Services Act.
The move would have made the city and county eligible for state and federal funding to open additional shelters for housing migrants.
But the following day, El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said that “the mayor and I backed off,” telling The Post that “we found out that there’s very little difference between the funding we’re getting now and the funding that we would get if it went up to the governor and the governor sent it to President Biden.”
At the time, about 700 migrants a day were arriving in El Paso.
But that number topped 2,100 a day last week before dropping down to around 1,600 a day, according to the latest information posted Monday on the city’s website.
Between April and mid-September more than 62,000 migrants had crossed the border at El Paso alone.
El Paso has relocated more than 10,000 migrants by bus to New York City since August, with Lesser revealing at a public meeting last month that he got a green light to do so from Mayor Eric Adams.
The front cover of the New York Post for Oct. 18, 2022.
Adams has denied that assertion and publicly called on Leeser to end the program earlier this month, saying “New York cannot accommodate the number of buses that we have coming here to our city.”
The Oct. 7 appeal came the same day Hizzoner declared a state of emergency in the Big Apple over its migrant crisis.
But the buses have continued rolling to the city from El Paso, most recently on Sunday.
Leeser has said that most of the migrants flooding El Paso come from Venezuela.
In recent days, migrants have been able to simply walk across the dried-up Rio Grande, surrender to US Customs and Border Protection officials and get released after saying they intend to seek political asylum.
Last week, the US and Mexican governments announced a deal under which Venezuelans who cross into the US would be sent back to Mexico.
But border sources told The Post that the agreement was only being enforced in a small number of cases.
The White House didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
After Dr. Ardis’ bombshell interview with Stew Peters, everyone wants to know—is he crazy, a heroic whistleblower, or just a humble man trying to share the COVID science he uncovered? Is there any truth to the claims that snake venom and COVID are linked? Today, Seth gives you the chance to ask Dr. Ardis your questions for yourself. Join us for a live Q&A
As the addiction and overdose crisis that has gripped the U.S. for two decades turns even deadlier, state governments are scrambling for ways to stem the destruction wrought by fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.
In statehouses across the country, lawmakers have been considering and adopting laws on two fronts:reducing the risk to users and increasing the penalties for dealing fentanyl or mixing it with other drugs. Meanwhile, Republican state attorneys general are calling for more federal action, while some GOP governors are deploying National Guard units with a mission that includes stopping the flow of fentanyl from Mexico.
“It’s a fine line to help people and try to get people clean, and at the same time incarcerate and get the drug dealers off the streets,” said Nathan Manning, a Republican state senator in Ohio who is sponsoring legislation to make it clear that materials used to test drugs for fentanyl are legal.
The recent case of five West Point cadets who overdosed on fentanyl-laced cocaine during spring break in Florida put the dangers and pervasiveness of the fentanyl crisis back in the spotlight.
The chemical precursors to the drugs are being shipped largely from China to Mexico, where much of the illicit fentanyl supply is produced in labs before being smuggled into the U.S.
While users sometimes seek out fentanyl specifically, it and other synthetics with similar properties are often mixed with other drugs or formed into counterfeit pills so users often don’t know they’re taking it.
Advocates say test strips can help prevent accidental overdoses of drugs laced with fentanyl. The strips are given out at needle exchanges and sometimes at concerts or other events where drugs are expected to be sold or used.
Thomas Stuber, chief legislative officer at The LCADA Way, a drug treatment organization in Ohio that serves Lorain County and nearby areas, has been pushing for the test strip legislation. It also would ease access to naloxone, a drug that can be used to revive people when they’re having opioid overdoses.
“This is a harm-reduction approach that has received a lot of acceptance,” he said. “We cannot treat somebody if they’re dead.”
Since last year, at least a half-dozen states have enacted similar laws and at least a dozen others have considered them, according to research by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
In West Virginia, the state hardest hit by opioids per capita, lawmakers passed a bill this month to legalize the testing strips. It now heads to the governor.
The measure was sponsored by Republican lawmakers. But state Delegate Mike Pushkin, a Democrat whose district includes central Charleston, has also been pushing for more access to fentanyl strips. He said the situation got worse last year when a state law tightened regulations on needle exchanges, causing some of them to close.
Pushkin, who also is in long-term addiction recovery, is pleased with the passage of the testing strip bill but upset with another measure passed this month that would increase the penalties for trafficking fentanyl. That bill also would create a new crime of adding fentanyl to another drug.
“Their initial reaction is, ‘We have to do something,’” he said. “It’s not just about doing something, it’s about doing the right thing that actually has results.”
But for many lawmakers, making sure that tough criminal penalties apply to fentanyl is a priority.
California Assemblywoman Janet Nguyen, a Republican, introduced a measure that would make penalties for dealing fentanyl just as harsh as those for selling cocaine or heroin. The Republican represents Orange County, where there were more than 600 reported fentanyl-related deaths last year.
“This is sending messages to those who aren’t afraid of selling these drugs that there’s a longer, bigger penalty than you might think,” said Nguyen, whose bill failed to advance from her chamber’s public safety committee in a 5-2 vote last week. She said after the bill failed that she was considering trying again.
She said committee members stressed compassion for drug users, something she said she agrees with.
The same day her measure failed to advance, a Democratic lawmaker in California announced a different bill to increase fentanyl-dealing penalties.
The National Conference of State Legislatures found 12 states with fentanyl-specific drug trafficking or possession laws as of last year. Similar measures have been introduced or considered since the start of 2021 in at least 19 states, the Associated Press found in an analysis of bills compiled by LegiScan. That does not include measures to add more synthetic opioids to controlled substance lists to mirror federal law; those have been adopted in many states, with bipartisan support.
Fentanyl has been in the spotlight in Colorado since February, when five people were found dead in a suburban Denver apartment from overdoses of fentanyl mixed with cocaine.
Under state law, possession with intent to distribute less than 14 grams of fentanyl is an offense normally punishable by two to four years in prison. But fentanyl is so potent that 14 grams can represent up to 700 lethal doses, under a calculation used by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
He and a bipartisan group of lawmakers last week unveiled a bill also backed by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis that would increase penalties for dealers with smaller amounts of fentanyl and in cases where the drug leads to a death. The legislation also would increase the accessibility of naloxone and test strips while steering people who possess fentanyl into education and treatment programs.
Maritza Perez, director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance, a group that advocates for harm-reduction measures, is skeptical of the legislation that would increase criminal penalties.
“We have the largest incarceration rate in the entire world and we’re also setting records in terms of overdose deaths,” she said.
Democratic governors are focusing primarily on harm reduction methods. Among them is Illinois Gov. Jay Pritzker, who released a broad overdose action plan last month.
Several Republican governors and attorneys general have responded to the rising death toll with administrative enforcement efforts and by pushing for more federal intervention.
Last year, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey called for states to help secure the border with Mexico. Along with trying to keep people from entering the U.S., stopping the flow of fentanyl was cited as a reason. Several other Republican governors have sent contingents of state troopers or National Guard units.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Justice filed about 2,700 cases involving crimes related to the distribution of fentanyl and similar synthetic drugs, up nearly tenfold from 2017. Even so, Republican state officials are critical of federal efforts to stop fentanyl from entering the country.
In January, 16 GOP state attorneys general sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling on him to exert more pressure on China and Mexico to stop the flow of fentanyl. Those are steps that Dr. Rahul Gupta, the director of National Drug Control Policy, said are already being taken.
In March, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey called on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland for more enforcement on fentanyl trafficking and harsher penalties.
“Fentanyl is killing Americans of all walks of life in unprecedented numbers,” Morrisey said in a statement emailed to the AP, “and the federal government must respond with full force, across the board, using every tool available to stem the tide of death.”
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
State officials say employees at a foster care center under a state contract to shelter children who have been trafficked for sex have been trafficking those children themselves
Officials: Texas foster care center sex-trafficked minors
ByThe Associated Press
March 10, 2022, 8:49 PM
HOUSTON — State officials told a federal judge Thursday that employees at a foster care center under a state contract to shelter children who had been trafficked for sex had been trafficking those children themselves.
The matter arose at an emergency hearing before U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack, who has been presiding over a 2011 class-action lawsuit against the state Department of Family and Protective Services that alleged that children were held in unsafe conditions, the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News reported.
The allegations involved a Bastrop facility called The Refuge, which housed 11 children ages 11 to 17. On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered an immediate investigation of the reports by the Texas Rangers.
State officials said a staffer reported in late January that a former employee had sold nude photos of two young girls and used the money to purchase illegal drugs and alcohol for them. Further investigation revealed several staffers still employed at The Refuge were involved in the criminal activity.
There are seven alleged victims and nine alleged perpetrators, state officials said. One staff member has been arrested, and additional criminal charges are expected, officials said. The children were finally removed from the facility by Wednesday, 1 1/2 months after the first report, state officials said.
“The most appalling thing about this is the disregard of these children,” Jack said. “You had to wait to get eight calls before you took 11 female already-trafficked children out of this trafficking situation. This is a system that remains broken.”
Department Commissioner Jaime Masters said she was only made aware of the situation Wednesday.
“There is no excuse for why I didn’t know, which is why several people are losing their jobs,” Masters said.
In a statement, The Refuge said it was “fully cooperating with authorities and we hope the alleged perpetrator will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and we will assist the Sheriff and the Bastrop County District Attorney’s office in their prosecution.”
“Our hearts are broken and we are outraged by the actions of former employees whose intent was to harm, not help,” said founder and CEO Brooke Crowder.
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On July 12, a 5-year-old boy in Georgia arrived at an emergency department following several days of sickness. He’d been vomiting, was weak and had a sore throat. His heart rate was unusually fast. His fever spiked to more than 102 degrees.
Doctors admitted the child to the hospital to keep an eye on him and help keep him properly hydrated. That night, his breathing became labored, and he tested positive for Covid-19.
Doctors immediately started a typical treatment for the infection, including steroids and an antiviral drug calledremdesivir.
He did not get better. Within four days of hospitalization, he died.
An autopsy later detected the coronavirus in his lungs and upper airways. But it also showed something surprising: bacteria called Burkholderia pseudomallei in the boy’s lungs, liver, spleen and brain.
That finding would eventually lead investigators to solve three other cases of Burkholderia pseudomallei infection that occurred earlier in the year in three different states. Details of all four cases were published Wednesday in theNew England Journal of Medicine.
The bacteria Burkholderia pseudomallei are almost never found in the United States; rather, they’re generally found in contaminated soil or water in parts of South and Southeast Asia.
But the boy’s family said they had not traveled outside of the country. Samples taken from the family’s water supply and soil outside the home turned up nothing.
Burkholderia pseudomallei can also be aerosolized and inhaled, so investigators tested products inside the boy’s home.
It was an “arduous investigation,” said study co-author Julia Petras, an epidemic intelligence service officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over the course of several months, investigators took dozens of samples from products in the boy’s home, she said.
Three months later, in October, investigators discovered the bacteria in an aromatherapy room spray in the house. The product, the lavender and chamomile scent of Better Homes & Gardens Essential Oil Infused Aromatherapy Room Spray With Gemstones, had been imported from India and sold at 55 Walmart stores, as well as on Walmart’s website.
“When we first got the confirmation, it came as a huge relief to us,” Petras said.
The discovery of the bacteria in the aromatherapy product helped investigators solve the three other cases of Burkholderia pseudomallei infection that had occurred earlier in the year. Each of those patients were found to have the same specific strain of the bacteria found in the spray bottle, suggesting they had also used the contaminated product.
The cases werefirst made public in October, when the CDC issued an alert about the aromatherapy spray and the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that Walmart was recalling nearly 4,000 bottles of the product, as well as five other scents under the same product name: lemon and mandarin; lavender; peppermint; lime and eucalyptus; and sandalwood and vanilla.
But because the bacteria are so rare in the U.S., signs of melioidosis can be mistaken for other respiratory illnesses, such as the flu, Covid or even tuberculosis.
All four patients whose cases are detailed in the new report initially had a wide range of vague symptoms, such as fatigue, shortness of breath, fever and nausea.
One case involved a 4-year-old girl in Texas whose family sought medical attention for her several times after she’d been vomiting and had a fever of more than 103 degrees. Investigators later confirmed her family had the aromatherapy spray product in the house.
Doctors thought perhaps the girl had a urinary tract infection and put her on a variety of antibiotics. Within days, she was hospitalized with septic shock, which causes dangerously low blood pressure and organs to shut down.
The girl survived. But three months after leaving the hospital, the girl still needed to use a wheelchair and was nonverbal, the study authors wrote.
The families of both the young girl and the boy told investigators that they had sometimes used the spray on pillows and bedding, Petras said.
The other two patients were adults, both 53 years old. A man living in Minnesota went into the hospital with weakness and confusion. His fever later soared to 104 degrees, and he had severe pain in one of his hips.
He was later discharged, but his mental status had not improved at that time.
And a woman in Kansas who was hospitalized with breathing problems and weakness later went into septic shock. She died nine days later.
Melioidosiscan occur through normal use of contaminated air fresheners and other room sprays, said Dr. Jill Weatherhead, an assistant professor of tropical medicine and infectious diseases at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
“We know you can get this infection through inhalation into the lungs,” Weatherhead, who was not involved in the CDC investigation, said. “Unfortunately in this case, the bacteria was already being aerosolized. If you breathe that in, it will cause disease.”
Abortions fell 60% in Texas in the first month of the most restrictive abortion law in decades in the United States,according to data recentlyreleased by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
The legislation, which bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, went into effect Sept. 1, 2021, and is now the governing law in Texas, effectively ending the Roe v. Wade ruling in the state.
According to reports, September 2021 saw nearly 2200 abortions, resulting in a marked drop from previous months of the year that averaged between 4200 and 5600 abortionprocedures per month.
This data evidences the impact of Texas’ new abortion law that bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which usually occurs around the sixth week of pregnancy.
The law further authorizes citizens to file private lawsuits against those who perform, aid or abet an abortion after the limits. Any citizen can sue for $10,000 or more if he or she files a successful lawsuit, the Associated Pressreported.
The world’s largest abortion provider, the international abortion clinic, Planned Parenthood, which profits from the death of unborn babies, called the drop in the number of abortions, “the very beginning of the devastating impact” of the law.
The ban conflicts with Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling that granted a constitutional right to abortion before a fetus is viable, usually around 24 weeks of pregnancy. But because the law was written in a way that manages to circumvent the ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has refused to block it.
The Court’s ruling is expected later this year. Pro-lifers are optimistic that they will finally achieve the goal they have been fighting for: to reverse the legality of abortion in the United States.
As Life Newsreportedin January, the 1973 ruling allowed more than 63 million children to die in the womb in the U.S. and hundreds of mothers to die from legal abortions.
Texas is also cracking down on abortion drugs. A law went into effect Dec. 1 of last year that prohibits prescribing and mailing abortion-inducing drugs to anyone more than seven weeks pregnant.
These pills involved are, mifepristone, which is taken first to block progesterone, the hormone that keeps pregnancy viable, and misoprostol which is taken a day later.
In April 2021 theFDA approvedthe telephone sale of both abortion pills, claiming that with the pandemic and restrictions on mobility, access to these drugs became more difficult.
These pills have caused the death of many women due to hemorrhage. In the United States, 24 deaths and 4000 adverse events have been reported from the use of these two pills.
“In fact, no American President, however, has been impeached not Andrew Johnson, not Richard Nixon, not Bill Clinton, not even Donald Trump has ever even been accused of crimes this flagrant or this serious, not even close.”
“According to new court documents, between January 20 and the end of March, just for example, the Biden administration refused to take custody of 37 illegal immigrants in the State of Texas. Many of these people had additional criminal records.”
Watch the clip:
Take a look at the transcript:
CARLSON: So the administration promptly shut down all workplace immigration raids. Now employers who hire illegal aliens in order to undercut American wages have the full protection of the Department of Homeland Security, because it’s not a corporate conspiracy or anything. Don’t you worry
Now, the rest of the world is fully aware of this. They follow these developments, they have the internet, too. As a result, as you just heard Bill Melugin say, a massive migrant caravan has formed in Southeastern Mexico, in the City of Tapachula.
We want to show even more footage of that, which you did not see in Bill’s report.
You can see the caravan is heading here and smashing through police barricades as it does.
CARLSON: Everybody sympathizes with migrants who want a better life in this country, of course. Our government’s primary concern always must be the welfare of American citizens in a country that’s rapidly getting poorer, which we are. But in general, you sympathize. But migrants who violently break through a police line? No, not allowed here, ever. There is no possible way the U.S. benefits from anyone who would do that. Period.
And by the way, in contrast to previous years, these migrants are not coming exclusively from Latin America, they are coming from as far away as China, and again why wouldn’t they come? The border is now open for everyone. It’s not just Central Americans.
FOX’s Griff Jenkins has been covering these caravans for years and this weekend, he went to Southwest Mexico and immediately saw something very different. Watch.
GRIFF JENKINS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL CORRESPONDENT: We’re in the town of Huehuetan, 16 miles north of Tapachula where this caravan started. You can see them, some children playing on a swing set, but we’re seeing a lot of families, a lot of children out here, and we’re seeing migrants from many different countries not just Central America, which was what was the situation in 2019, that Northern Triangle of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.
But we see Haitians in here. We even met one woman from China that we couldn’t speak to her because she didn’t speak Spanish or English. Every migrant we talked to today said they’ve got one destination in mind and that’s the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So why are they coming? We don’t need to guess about that, ask the people who are coming here illegally. They’re not embarrassed to articulate it at all. They are coming because they know immigration enforcement under Joe Biden has been suspended in the United States.
The White House hasn’t simply ended workplace raids, they’ve also stopped turning people away at the border, so people just come in and they know they’ll never be forced to leave. Already, the administration has released more than 160,000 illegal migrants into the country with no supervision whatsoever, without telling the people into whose neighborhoods they’re moving, because they don’t care what American citizens think.
By the way, how many are vaccinated? You can’t go to events, you can’t have a job in this country without being vaccinated, but if you come here illegally, no problem. What does that tell you?
Now, tens of thousands of those migrants according to documents obtained by Fox News have already received work permits. Right. Soon they will receive free benefits and the healthcare that Joe Biden has promised them. That’s why they’re coming. Again just ask them and they’ll tell you.
This week, Texas Scorecard published a series of interviews with three of Gov. Greg Abbott’s Republican primary challengers: Allen West, Chad Prather, and Don Huffines. Abbott declined an invitation to appear.
This is where the candidates stood on the issues.
All of Abbott’s gubernatorial challengers criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and lengthy silence on banning federal and employer vaccine mandates. In 2020, Abbott made the decision to shut the state of Texas down to navigate the pandemic, which has been heavily criticized by many conservatives. Even after Abbott lifted some of his own mandates, for example, Texas was subject to local infringements on liberties.
Allen West believes that Texas should follow the lead of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and refuse to allow corporations to move into Texas if they intend to mandate the vaccine. According to West, COVID-19 vaccinations were “not a condition of employment. And so now all of a sudden, you want to make that adjustment. I don’t support that. The people that know what’s best for their body are the people that occupy that body.”
Chad Prather maintains that the job of the governor is to keep a state free from government overreach and mandates. He stated, “I want people to be able to have the freedom to run their businesses freely, however they want to do. But at the end of the day, we’re talking about the violation of people’s human bodies. There’s got to be a line drawn in the sand that says you can’t mandate that, you can’t make that happen.” Prather rejects the government and employer vaccine mandates because he believes that medical choices are ultimately up [to] the individual.
Don Huffines holds that “the fundamental role of government is to defend us from [the] government,” therefore, the executive overreach at all levels of government during the COVID-19 pandemic should never have been allowed. For Huffines, mask mandates and vaccine mandates are not to be tolerated by the government or employers.
All challengers agree that the porous border is a major issue for Texas and believe the governor should be doing more to handle the border crisis. Though Abbott has deployed some of the Texas Department of Public Safety and National Guard to assist, much of his statements regarding the border crisis have focused on criticizing the Biden administration rather than addressing the issues. According to the challengers, Gov. Abbott should be utilizing his power as governor to stop the invasion of illegal immigrants as is his right and duty under the U.S. and Texas constitutions.
West says he wants more Texas National Guard troops at the border for stronger deterrence and to provide the ability for local law enforcement to act. “You’ve got to have the boots on the ground to provide that deterrent force along with integrated systems like ground sensors, surveillance systems, and also aerial surveillance systems,” he said. “But you also have to empower our constitutional officers, the sheriffs that are down there along the border, and sheriffs all across the state of Texas to be able to be a part of doing what the federal government is lacking to do with this—which is not deporting people, which is not turning people around at the border. So, we have to be empowered to do that to protect ourselves.”
Prather also wants full deployment of the Texas National Guard to defend the Texas border, stating, “We’ve got to stand on that river, both as law enforcement, both as a sovereign state, as an empowered people, and say, ‘No, you’re not coming across.’”
Huffines believes that deploying the Texas National Guard, finishing Trump’s border wall, returning all illegal immigrants to Mexico, and halting commercial traffic over the Rio Grande will be a suitable multi-faceted approach to securing the Texas border. For Huffines, the Texas governor must stand in the gap because “the federal government will never secure the border.”
The challengers all agreed that the hike in Texas property taxes is a major issue for a free state, and they shared what their methods would be for changing the property tax system. Though Abbott and the Republican state Legislature touted supposed property reform in 2019, Texas homeowners’ bills have continued to climb.
According to West, the state budget surplus should go toward relieving citizens’ property tax burdens, and Texas should transition to a fair tax system, or consumption tax. “That will be one of my emergency priorities at the state of the state address.”
Prather acknowledged that high property taxes were driving Texans from their land. He believes that the solution is not to change the tax system, but rather to focus on cutting spending at all levels of government—starting with the top. “We have got to cut spending. Spending in the State of Texas has increased by $48 billion in the last two terms of Greg Abbott. That’s untenable,” he said, adding that taxes are a complex issue that will take “complex models” to fix.
Huffines favors a gradual reversal of the property tax system while cutting state spending, rather than an increased state consumption tax. According to Huffines, property taxes are “a bad way to fund [the] government.” By cutting spending and slowly removing property taxes as the funding sources for state and local government, Huffines believes Texas can reach a reasonable level of taxation.
The three challengers all support the Texas Heartbeat Act, but they do have slightly different interpretations of “pro-life.” Though Gov. Abbott signed the pro-life bill into law, he did not respond to an inquiry from Texas Scorecard regarding his position on banning abortions before a heartbeat is detected.
Allen West says he fully supports the Heartbeat Act and the criminalization of abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. However, he does support a rape and incest exception for abortions prior to the heartbeat detection. West explained his reasoning, stating, “I just think that we have to be considerate when a woman’s body is violated because we just had a discussion about telling people that they have to get an injection in the body. If someone’s body has been used as part of a crime, I think we need to be more considerate about that.”
Prather says he supports the Heartbeat Act but believes it doesn’t go far enough, since it doesn’t abolish abortion in Texas. “For me, the [Heartbeat Act] is a step in the right direction, but I believe in the abolition of abortion, controversial as that may sound. I don’t believe that calling it “abortion” cleans up the act of murder in any way, shape, or form.” Prather stands for the abolition of abortion without exception.
Ultimately, Huffines says the goal of pro-life legislation is the complete abolishment of abortion. He reiterated this week that he is “100 percent pro-life, from conception to natural death, with no exceptions,” clearly elucidating his position on both abortion and euthanasia.
Child Gender Modification
The three gubernatorial challengers are in full agreement that child gender modification is abhorrent and that Abbott could choose to do more to stop it. Abbott has failed to prioritize any law protecting children from mutilation in this year’s legislative sessions, and his campaign website makes no mention of the issue.
West fully believes child gender modification is abuse. “We’ve got to do better protecting our kids. And again, that’s where Texas needs to be a leader. But sadly, we have seen a governor in these special sessions [who] has not even put that down as one of his priorities,” he said.
According to Prather, the priority of protection for children from gender modification would have been a priority of his during the regular legislative session earlier this year. “To the degree that we fail to defend the most innocent among us—whether it is the children in our society or the unborn in our wombs—to the degree we do that, I think we lose both the grace and protection and the divine providence of God’s hand on our state [and] in our nation,” he added.
Huffines called child gender modification an “embarrassment for the State of Texas,” adding, “We could just pass a bill real quick and stop it all.” However, according to Huffines, the governor and liberal Republicans in the House do not want to address the issue.
DES MOINES, Iowa (KTIV) – A 12-state human trafficking operation this week has led to over 100 arrests and dozens of victims being identified by law enforcement.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Safety, 102 arrests and 47 victims were identified as part of Operation United Front. Most of the arrests were made the night of Aug. 26 and into the morning of Aug. 27, with efforts being coordinated by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt says the operation used undercover law enforcement officers from federal, state and local agencies to arrange meetings with potential victims or posed as victims to identify buyers or traffickers.
In Iowa, law enforcement agencies say they executed 10 search warrants, identified five businesses involved in sex trafficking, made 11 arrests and seized a “large quantity of U.S. currency.”
Among the states that were part of the operation were Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.
“Human trafficking uniquely affects Iowa given our proximity to major metropolitan areas like Kansas City and Chicago and the intersection of two major interstate systems. As a result, we know human trafficking is happening in Iowa and that it occurs in a variety of settings,” said Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens. “Together we can prevent this from happening in our state, because even one victim is one too many.”
The Sioux City Police Department was also involved, assisting operations conducted in Nebraska by providing detectives to help support the sharing of intelligence and surveillance.
“We conduct sting operations to address human trafficking, but as a municipal law enforcement agency, we are limited in our range to our jurisdiction of Sioux City. As this is an issue that affects the tri-state region of Siouxland, this provided us a unique opportunity to work in partnership with Nebraska and federal law enforcement agencies to investigate a crime that affects our entire community,” stated the SCPD in a statement to KTIV.
Nebraska law enforcement conducted sex trafficking operations in three locations, including Scottsbluff, Kearney and South Sioux City. During which, among other arrests, a man was arrested for seeking to purchase sex acts with a 15-year-old girl who was actually an undercover police officer.