Austin’s immigrant advocates are optimistic about a Biden administration—but experts caution patience
Local immigration advocates expect that, very soon after President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20, he will begin overturning federal policies implemented during the Trump administration. And then they expect demand for immigrant legal services in Austin to jump.
"We should see an immediate influx," said Justin Estep, director of immigration legal services at Catholic Charities of Central Texas.
In particular, Estep and other local advocates expect Biden to reinstate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which allows certain undocumented individuals who were brought to the U.S. as children to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and become eligible for a work permit.
The Trump administration attempted to stop the program, prompting the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in July that it must be reinstated. However, the Department of Homeland Security then announced that it would reject all requests associated with DACA and limit the period of renewed deferred action to one year.
Once in office, Biden will be able to overturn the Trump-era changes relatively easily, with a memo, said Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute.
For many Austinites, this will be a welcomed change.
Nearly one in five city residents is foreign-born, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and the Austin-Round Rock metro has the 19th largest population of unauthorized immigrants in the country, according to a 2019 report from the Pew Research Center.
"We absolutely expect there to be some changes that make things easier for our clients," said Robert Painter, managing attorney for American Gateways, which provides immigrant legal services to low-income residents in Austin and San Antonio.
Both Painter and Estep expressed optimism that other policy changes—especially around the asylum seeking process—would come with the new administration.
But Pierce said they may be disappointed.
In particular, Trump's "Remain in Mexico" program, which allows U.S. border officers to send non-Mexican asylum seekers to Mexico as they await a ruling on their immigration claim, will be harder to undo.
Immigration was the Trump administration's top policy priority, Pierce explained. As such, his appointees helped transform the federal immigration landscape over the last four years, using multiple bureaucratic tools to "layer" policies—and making them harder to undo
"It's genius," she told Austonia.
The Biden administration, as a result, has its work cut out for it when it comes to immigration policy—not to mention managing the federal COVID response and addressing the economic fallout of the pandemic.
"Immigration will not even be in their top five priorities," Pierce said. "There's so much more going on in the country, and also immigration has never been a politically beneficial issue for the Democrats to pursue."
Despite this, she expects there to be an increase in the number of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border come January.
"This is a business opportunity," she said, adding that smugglers pay attention to policy changes.
Painter expects to see an increase in local demand for certain legal services, such as asylum claims, that were effectively non-starters under the Trump administration. He is also looking forward to more stability in federal immigration policy.
"It can change day-to-day," he said of the bureaucratic layering that Pierce observed, which made his clients' cases more complex.
But until Biden is in office, there is little Painter can do for his clients other than encourage them to think through their immigration status and prepare any relevant paperwork.
"The thing that we want to emphasize to all of our clients is there is no Biden administration yet," he said. "People have to be patient."
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The Austin Police Department has arrested the man suspected to be behind a series of robberies that were sexual in nature.
The suspect, who was only identified by police as a 22-year-old Hispanic man, was arrested by police on Thursday with one account of aggravated robbery, but more charges are expected to be made. The suspect's identity has not been revealed by police in order to not taint any current investigations, police said in a press conference. Little details were released on how police identified the suspect, but APD told the media that the community played a large role in capturing him.
The man is believed to be behind a series of robberies in North Austin within a 30-day period.
Here's a breakdown of the cases:
1. At 7:56 a.m. on Sept. 22 at the 1600 block of Rutland Drive, a woman was walking alone and returning from her child's school when a suspect walking by inappropriately touched her. The suspect then grabbed her by the arm, threatened her with a knife and demanded "her property."
2. At 8:10 a.m. on Oct. 11 at 1700 block of Colony Creek Drive, a woman was walking to her child's school when a man approached her with a knife and then demanded her personal items. The suspect then said he would return the items in return for sex.
3. At 11:03 a.m. on Oct. 13 at the 9300 block of Northgate Boulevard, a woman was with her child in the laundry room of an apartment complex when a man walked in performing a sexual act. The suspect demanded personal items from the victim, threatening to hurt the victim and take her child.
Police are encouraging other potential victims to come forward.
Atop one of Austin's signature rolling hilltops, 1501 Ridgecrest Drive is similar to one of the plush palaces that one might find in Calabasas. For $10.9 million, the home has four bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms and caps at 10,498 square feet.
Park in the massive, fully air-conditioned garage before walking in, where you'll have eight full spaces to park your collection of cars. If you're not a collector, the garage makes an excellent studio space.
The wide-open living spaces will draw your eyes to the two-story ceilings, glass catwalk, integrated fireplace and wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the pool.
Though the house was built in 2011, it doesn't show its age. Sleek, clean lines lead seamlessly from the formal living area to an elite open-plan kitchen. Separated by a 25-foot waterfall island that can seat at least eight people, the kitchen is fitted with only the finest Miele and Subzero appliances. The custom cabinets are just as pricey as the rest of the place, finished with custom high-gloss Aston Martin (you read that right) paint.
Upstairs in the sprawling master's suite, there are enough amenities to never have to set foot outside again. Armani tile floors, space for living and a walk-in showcase closet lead into the resort-style bathroom, where you'll find dual vanities, a walk-in shower and a lounging bathtub.
The bedroom is a quick elevator trip away from the "party" room, complete with a bar, wine room and movie theater, only the best for entertaining. If your guests are staying over, rest assured they'll be comfortable with the kitchenette, washer and dryer and spa-like bath in their suite.
Though summer has passed, you can still enjoy the grand lap pool's unobstructed Hill Country views, many private lounging areas, grill a homemade snack at the outdoor kitchen or shoot some hoops at the newly-added court.
The listing is held by Compass' Gary Dolch.
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In what could be one of their least energetic showing to date, Austin FC was outperformed by home team San Jose in a 4-0 road loss late Wednesday night.
As the first team officially out of playoff contention in a loss on Saturday, the team seemed defeated from almost the moment they hit the pitch as Quakes standouts Chris Wondolowski and Javier "Chofis" Lopez scored on the team.
A 10th-place San Jose maintained a clean sheet in the match as they inched closer to a last-minute spot in playoffs.
Just as they did in their 1-0 loss Saturday, it was Austin FC who struck first in the match. Captain Alex Ring forced a save from Quakes keeper JT Marcinkowski in just the second minute of play, while star forward Sebastian Driussi followed soon after.
A little over 10 minutes later, San Jose responded with a shot of their own as Austin keeper Brad Stuver was forced into action with a diving save. But with a failing backline and a lack of energy throughout, a frustrated Stuver wouldn't be enough to stave off the home team Quakes in their four-goal triumph.
After a slow first half, San Jose star Chofis was the first to strike after sneaking past Stuver to make it 1-0 for the home team to kick off the second half.
Just five minutes later, Quakes midfielder Benjamin Kikanovic broke free with a fast-paced drive in a play that saw two Asutin FC players hit the ground to double the lead. Stuver and other players were immediately outraged in the controversial call after an apparent handball in the box.
MLS' top all-time scorer Chris Wondolowski capitalized on the slow Austin defense next, taking a pause in the box to score the third goal unmanned in the 59th minute.
Finally, Carlos Fierro clinched the win for the home team after placing a header from six yards out off of a cross and corner kick to end the match 4-0 for San Jose.
Austin Head Coach Josh Wolff attempted to staunch the wound with a series of subs starting at the beginning of the second half, subbing in native Austinite McKinze Gaines for Moussa Djitte and Rodney Redes for Cecilio Dominguez. But no subs were enough to push back against the 'Quakes as the team lost their second match in a row.
Austin FC has four final matches to end the season, including two remaining home matches against the Houston Dynamo at 4 p.m. on Sunday and a final match at Q2 Stadium against Sporting Kansas City at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 4.
Here's a live blog of the match:
85' San Jose makes it 4-0
Austin FC once again can't plug holes in the box as San Jose scores their fourth goal of the match off a set piece and header to make it 4-0 in the 85th minute. The Quakes' Carlos Fierro scores on a header from close up after a well-placed cross from Cristian Espinoza as a frustrated Stuver is unable to block the six-yard shot.
Frustrated and sluggish, Austin FC appears to have lost their chance at a win or draw in one of their worst losses by scoring margin this season.
59' Wondolowski scores for the "Quakes
Just a minute after he hits the pitch, MLS' all-time top scorer Chris Wondolowski tacks one more onto San Jose's lead as the home team leads 3-0 in the 59th minute. A beleaguered Austin leaves Wondolowski undefended as he receives the ball in the box, pauses and scores in the bottom right corner of goal.
It's looking to be an especially bad match for Austin, who already sit at the bottom of the West. The Verde and Black continue to be outperformed in their late-season road matches.
53' Austin doubles the lead
After a rough-and-tumble drive that saw two Austin FC players take a fall, San Jose's Benjamin Kikanovic shoots past Stuver to score the second goal of the match for the home team. The play drew ire from Austin FC players including Stuver, who said there was a handball in the box. Austin's defense continues to be outperformed in the match.
47' San Jose scores first
The Earthquakes finally capitalized on a sluggish Austin FC as San Jose's Javier "Chofis" Lopez snuck one past keeper Brad Stuver and a last-ditch dive from Austin's Jhohan Romana to net the first goal of the match. The goal is Lopez' 12th on the season.
40' Romana gets yellow carded
Romaña is trying to play flag football 😂 #AustinFC— Seth Davis (@sethdavis512) October 21, 2021
Austin FC's Jhohan Romana is the first to get yellow carded in the match after grabbing a jersey in the 40th minute of play. Seconds later, Austin nearly gets an opportunity as San Jose keeper JT Marcinkowski fumbles a blocked shot, but he passes the ball off before the Verde and Black can get one in off the rebound.
The Quakes repeat the move in the 41st minute as they nearly get one past Stuver, who is able to hold it down unguarded and grab a shot from Jeremy Ebobisse.
18' Stuver keeps it clean
Just like Saturday, it was Austin who struck first with a shot by Captain Alex Ring in just the second minute of play. Star newcomer Sebastian Driussi came soon after with a shot of his own, but the ball was once again kept out of goal.
Just over 10 minutes later, Austin keeper Brad Stuver got his first big test as the Quakes' Jeremy Ebobisse shot one towards the bottom left corner. In signature fashion, Stuver was able to keep a clean sheet.
Austin's "strongest lineup yet" may not have been able to finish in Saturday's loss, but they created plenty of chances. Wolff seems to have confidence in the starting XI and hasn't changed much for tonight.
Nick Lima is in for right back in Hector Jimenez's stead, while Cecilio Dominguez, Moussa Djitte and Sebastian Driussi lead up front. Center back Matt Besler remains out on concussion protocol.