The humanitarian crisis at the border has given Texas a black eye, says Sen. Alvarado

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Below are highlights from an interview The Texas Signal did with state Senator Carol Alvarado, a Democrat from Houston, on Friday.  

Detention centers

  • Alvarado said the humanitarian crisis at the border “has given [Texas] a black eye not just around the country but in the world. This does not look good for Texas.” 
  • On June 22, Alvarado wrote a letter to Texas Health and Human Services Commission inquiring about the state’s responsibilities, if any, around the migrant detention centers. In recent weeks, reports of poor hygiene and general well being of asylum-seekers crossing the border have surfaced.
  • Alvarado said the Commission sent a letter back stating HHCS had no jurisdiction over the centers if they were federally owned and operated. 
  • In a follow up phone call, the commissioner’s office said they did have some jurisdiction if a center contracted with other entities, like a nonprofit. “[If] it is a federal center that contracts with someone, then the state does have a responsibility,” Alvarado said, pointing to licensing and inspection operations.
  • Alvarado said her office is compiling a list of all centers the state of Texas has contracts with.

Legislative session

  • The senator, known as a workhorse, passed 32 bills in her first session, 29 of which the Governor signed. The whole focus in both chambers this session, she said, was on “getting things done that mattered to Texas,” despite some bills she adamantly opposed.
  • She’s very “proud” of the senate Democrats for blocking the nomination of former Sec. of State David Whitley, who led the attempted voter purge effort earlier this year, from coming to the floor. 

2020 elections

  • Alvarado is optimistic about the 2020 presidential election. More women and people of color are getting involved in the process.

Watch the full interview below.

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