• Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast


    Homeschooler Can’t Prove She’s American

    Her parents homeschooled Alecia Faith Pennington and never filed for government ID. Now she can’t get a job, buy an airline ticket or have a normal life.

    “My name is Alecia Faith Pennington and I’m a U. S. citizen by birth.”

    That’s how Alecia Pennington’s YouTube video begins; the 19-year-old Texas native declares with a quiet confidence that she’s a citizen of the United States, born on American soil.

  • John Moore/Getty

    Human Rights

    Is Border Patrol Abusing Immigrant Kids?

    The ACLU and four other immigrants rights groups issued a complaint, Tuesday, detailing reports of what they call systemic abuse against unaccompanied immigrant children by Customs and Border Protection Officials and called on the Department of Homeland Security to put a stop to it.

    Sixteen-year-old G.G. says she was apprehended in Texas by Border Patrol agents who told her they would kill her if she tried to run. “Your little scheme won’t work to keep you here in the U.S.,” an agent reportedly told her, accusing G.G. of lying when she told them her age. She says she was detained by Customs and Border Protection for a total of nine days in five different detention centers—each one worse than the last. CBP officials allegedly fed her moldy bread and, when she vomited from the food, accused her of being pregnant and called her a “dirty liar.” Her bed consisted of a thin sheet of paper on the floor of her cell and the bathroom, without doors or garbage cans, was covered in used toilet paper and sanitary pads. “You’re the garbage that contaminates this country,” CBP officials reportedly told her.

    ‪This is just one of 116 different, yet equally horrifying, individual tales included in a report released Tuesday (PDF) on alleged rampant abuses by U.S. Customs and Border Protection—the federal agency that includes Border Patrol—against unaccompanied immigrant children. The rapid influx of kids, many of them from Central America, illegally crossing the border into Texas over the past few months has captured recent headlines. Unable to accommodate all of the children apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley, Customs and Border Protection have been sending unaccompanied minors by the hundreds to detention centers in Arizona over the past few days and even more are expected. According to a recent investigation by Mother Jones, 70,000 kids will cross the border without parents this year. As senior administration officials confirmed during a media conference call earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that includes Customs and Border Protection, was in no way prepared for the high volume of undocumented children and, as such, are scrambling to accommodate them.

  • Mike Stone/Reuters

    Texas Pro-Choicers Arm for Battle

    Despite a disappointing ruling in the Fifth Circuit on Thursday, the pro-choice movement is only gearing up for battle.

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit gave a victory to anti-abortion advocates Thursday and as a result, pro-choice Texas is refusing to cave into Rick Perry and co.

    Judge Edith H. Jones wrote in the three-judge panel ruling that the state law requiring all abortion providers to meet the standards of ambulatory surgery centers (ACS) did not cause an “undue burden on the life and health of a woman.”

  • Texas Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, speaks to supporters at her campaign headquarters Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. (LM Otero/AP)

    Wendy Davis Will Turn Texas Purple

    A new poll shows Wendy Davis within single digits of her Republican opponent—one more sign that Texas’s voters are no longer reliably red.

    Let’s start by stating the obvious: It is hard for a Democrat to win statewide office in Texas today.  Recently, Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Democrat from San Antonio, pointed out that Texas has gone longer than any other state in the union without electing a Democrat to high office.  Which makes Wendy Davis’ ascent in the Texas governor’s race all the more impressive.

    This week, a new poll showed Sen. Davis within just seven points of her Republican opponent, Attorney General Greg Abbott.  The poll shows that 42 percent of Texas voters back Davis, compared to 49 percent for Abbott.  Now, put in the context of the 2002 Texas gubernatorial election—in which Republican Rick Perry won by almost 18 points over his leading Democratic rival—and the seven percent gap between Davis and Abbott is impressive.  In the context of previous polls that showed Abbott widening his lead over Davis, this new poll is even more stunning.  Wendy Davis has a serious shot at becoming the next governor of Texas. 

  • Getty


    No, Texas, Abuse Isn’t Foreplay

    The prospective DA for a Texas county with abysmally high domestic violence rates has issued the woeful opinion that abuse is really just a prelude to sex.

    Lloyd Oliver proves that it’s not just Republicans who completely misunderstand any and all things related to sex and women’s rights. The Democratic candidate for district attorney in Texas’ Harris County argued that domestic violence is over-prosecuted because folks just don’t realize it’s part of foreplay.

    The prospective DA both discounts and fetishizes domestic abuse. In an interview with the Texas Observer, Oliver said “Family violence is so, so overrated.” And it is overrated if you believe, as Oliver stated in 2012, that it’s a “prelude to lovemaking.”

  • Ron T. Ennis/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT, via Getty

    Wendy’s Abortion Compromise

    The Texas state senator suggested she might support a 20-week abortion ban if it deferred to women and their doctors—and her position shouldn’t surprise us.

    Earlier this week, Texas State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis made some waves by suggesting she might support a 20-week abortion ban in the state as long as it pays strong deference to women and their doctors. Davis told The Dallas Morning News editorial board: that less than one-half of one percent of Texas abortions occur after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Most of those were in cases where fetal abnormalities were evident or there were grave risks to the health of the woman. “I would line up with most people in Texas who would prefer that that’s not something that happens outside of those two arenas,” Davis said.

    This would seem a bit of a shift for Davis, who of course rose to national prominence with her 13-hour filibuster to block a bill in the Texas legislature that included a 20-week ban. Davis now says that her primary objection to that bill, which ultimately became law, was not the 20-week provision but the onerous restrictions on abortion providers and clinics. Her statements on the matter came as a surprise to those in the state and nationwide who think of Wendy Davis as a champion of reproductive freedom.

  • David Goldman/AP


    Anita Perry: Abortion ‘Woman’s Right’

    First lady of Texas also says “two sides to every nickel.”

    So this must make for some interesting conversations around the Texas governor’s mansion. Anita Perry, the wife of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, said Saturday that abortion “could be a woman’s right, just like it’s a man’s right if he wants to have some kind of procedure.” Further, Perry said, while she doesn’t personally agree with abortion, “the older I get, the more I see there are two sides to every nickel.” Perry’s comments come as abortion lands front and center in the 2014 governor’s race: likely to enter the race next week is Wendy Davis, a state senator who made national headlines earlier this year when she filibustered an bill supported by Rick Perry that would close nearly all the abortion clinics in the state.

    Read it at Texas Tribune
  • Eric Gay/AP


    Texas Legislature Returns

    Special session called after Wendy Davis’s filibuster.

    Texas lawmakers returned to Austin on Monday after Gov. Rick Perry called for a special 30-day legislative session to push through a bill restricting abortion that did not pass the state Senate in time for his signature due to an 11-hour filibuster from Wendy Davis. The Texas Democratic Party is planning a rally Monday morning at the capitol in opposition to the abortion bill, which would cause nearly all of the state’s clinics to close and make any abortion after 20 weeks illegal. The House will begin work shortly after the rally—although the conventional wisdom has it that the bill will pass this time around. It already passed the Texas House after an impassioned debate before going to the Senate, where Davis’s filibuster prevented it from coming to Perry’s desk in time for his signature—although it did pass a vote.

    Read it at Dallas Morning News
  • Eric Gay/AP

    Say What?

    The Fringe Factor

    Our weekly roundup of far-out statements from our fearless political leaders. By Caitlin Dickson.

    State officials love throwing around the term “terrorism,” while others are extremely distraught about immigration reform. Never a dull moment on the fringe of American politics.

    Texas: Wendy Davis Is a Terrorist