Texas Matters: Bail Reform; Border Wall; & Colonia Poverty

Feb 2, 2018

On this episode of Texas Matters:

  • Cash bail in Texas is called unconstitutional (:52)
  • Charges of corruption in construction of the border fence (7: 00)
  • DACA recipients oppose deal on border wall (15:38)
  • Border Colonia residents live in extreme poverty (20:46)


Cash Bail In Texas Called Unconstitutional

A civil rights group is urging Harris County judges to “get in line” with the federal court ruling that found the Harris cash bail system unconstitutional.

Some county officials say the district court’s order creates a public safety risk, but others say it penalizes those who can’t afford bond.

In June, U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal ordered most indigent misdemeanor defendants who are denied personal bonds to be released from jail on unsecured bonds within 24 hours. Harris County has spent more than $5 million appealing a federal lawsuit challenging its bail system. Another bail reform effort is underway in Dallas.

Two sitting judges have have already opted out of the appeal to Rosenthal's ruling, but 14 others are waiting to hear from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

We talk to Cynthia Cole, with the Greater Houston Coalition for Justice, Representative Carol Alvarado of Houston and Susanne Pringle, executive director of The Texas Fair Defense Project.

Charges of Corruption In Construction Of Border Fence

As the nation debates the merits and the $25 billion cost of a massive wall along the U.S. southern border, new information is coming to light about how business was conducted during the construction of the President George W. Bush-era border fence.  

The Texas Tribune and ProPublica is reporting on charges of corruption, kickbacks and self-dealing that funneled millions of tax payer dollars to one official in Hidalgo County.

DACA Recipients Oppose Deal On Border Wall

In the political fight over the border wall, DACA recipients face a painful decision: Support of President Donald Trump’s offer of an immigration deal it means agreeing to fund the wall. 

We traveled to the South Texas border to get reaction from those who are willing to forgo their pathway towards citizenship in order to prevent the erecting of a border wall. 

Border Colonia Residents Live in Extreme Poverty Conditions

The construction of the border wall will also mean some people who live near the Rio Grande River will lose their homes — and some of these people live in Colonias.

Washington Post immigration reporter Maria Sacchetti recently wrote about the third world like conditions of South Texas Colonias.

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