Elsa Chang, Melissa Lopez, Los Angeles discussed on All Things Considered
Elsa Chang in Los Angeles. The Biden administration is facing a big challenge at the US Mexico border. Hundreds of unaccompanied minors are arriving every day, overwhelming the government's ability to process and transfer them to sponsors. Usually, these are family members. As a result, thousands of Children without guardians are being held in warehouse like detention facilities. FEMA has been mobilized to help out Melissa Lopez is an immigration attorney and director of diocesan, migrant and refugee services in El Paso, Texas. Welcome Hello. How are you? Good. So your organization I understand provides legal representation for many of these unaccompanied minors. Can you just talk about How has this surge been affecting your work right now? I mean, the reality is is that a lot of these Children are still stuck at the border. And so it hasn't really affected us too much at this point, because we're still waiting for the Children to actually reach. Shelters where we provide services and so were anxiously waiting for them, you know? Well, ah, Lot concerned about the conditions of the Children might be in and these border patrol Holding facilities and these temporary shelters that have been set up obviously not ideal conditions for Children, and so we would much prefer that they be in the regular or our shelters. Well. The governor of Texas Greg Abbott and Republican members of Congress have blamed this most recent surge on the Biden administration, saying that President Biden's policies are a green light to migrants. Crossing the border. Do you think the influx were seeing right now is being driven by the change in administration. No, I don't. I think that the reality is is that so long as their push factors in these countries that require people to leave in order to be able to eat regularly in order to have be able to have a safe place to sleep at night. These numbers will continue. Trump on by his administration did absolutely everything possible to keep people from even being able to step foot on U. S soil because Once they step foot on U s soil than they have rights. So you see this influx being made up of people who are just simply waiting to enter the U. S during the Trump administration and now don't have to wait anymore. I think that many of them Knew that if they tried to enter, they would probably, you know, face severe injuries, physical injuries or even death. If they tried to enter, you know, I think that it's just People are actually now being allowed to enter, which is well within the law and which should have been done under the Trump administration as well with respect to the current surge in migrants, especially unaccompanied. Miners. How would you assess the Biden administration's efforts and handling the situation right now? You know, it's It's really tough, I think under the Biden administration, I think, unfortunately, they were so laser focused on the migrant protection protocols or remain in Mexico on baking Sure that those asylum seekers could enter the United States as quickly as possible that I did. I don't think that they saw The surge of immigrant Children, but I am really happy to see that additional resource is air being put into The need for migrant Children to be in a safe place again. I'm not advocating for beast temporary shelters along the border, but The more quickly that Children can be tested for Cove in to make sure that they can safely go into a shelter or could be returned and reunified with her family. I hope that the help that's being requested from FEMA will ensure that the Children won't languish in these temporary shelters. Along at all. Melissa Lopez is director of diocesan migrant and refugee services in El Paso, Texas. Thank you very much for joining us today. Thank you. West Virginia has been hemorrhaging population over the last decade, and Governor Jim Justice has an idea to turn it around. The Republican governor wants to reduce the state's personal income tax by 60%. He and some other leading Republicans at the Capitol hope this plan will bring in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of new residents. They've missed each of West Virginia. Public Broadcasting gives us a look at the plan and whether it could work in rolling out his plan. Earlier this month, Governor Jim Justice referred to maps and charts. According to the Census Bureau, West Virginia is the only state that lost population overall. Since 1950 all others have grown. But now Governor Justice says this is the moment to turn that all around, especially with such a successful vaccine roll out here. The spotlight of the world's on West Virginia right now. Absolutely. We know from the standpoint of how we've handled Co vered. And how we've handled the economics of covert. Really and truly, we have knocked it out of the far the governor's income tax reduction plan, formally introduced by the Legislature last week would cost the state nearly a quarter of its general revenue budget. He will come for that revenue loss. Governor Justice has proposed massive hikes on tobacco, alcohol and soda, and most notably, the proposal would bump the consumer sales tax from 6% to 7.9%. Making it the highest base rate of any state in the nation. Governor Justice is it would be a net win for taxpayers that would provide much needed economic growth in a state that scene the decline of the once dominant coal industry. He also dreams of another win for the state that he's promoted under the tax reform plan. I really, really believe that there is a real chance. Of landing real entertainment landing. You know, the next Disney the next Dollywood, But the seats Chamber of Commerce says justice is sweeping proposal misses the mark. I think that proponents Of the current plan might simply have overlooked or underestimated. The impact of these proposals on businesses. That's West Virginia Chamber president Steve Roberts. Among other concerns, he takes issue with the proposed increase to the consumer sales tax. Especially considering the higher populations are concentrated in many of the state's border counties. We want to do everything we can to keep those purchases in West Virginia. And if we adopt a sales tax rate that would make our state sales tax so much higher than surrounding states were afraid that people will find the incentive to run next door to do their shopping where people spend their money is one thing getting them to come to West Virginia and droves by reducing the income tax as the governor hopes..