The Darsch Report: Feb. 4 – 10

Bexar County Child Sex Crime

On Thursday, Feb. 7, a Bexar County Sheriff’s Office records employee was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a child.

Jose Angel Laines, 44, is currently assigned to the Sheriff’s Office records section and has been employed with the Sheriff’s Office since 2004.

“The disturbing allegations against this 14-year employee go back to at least a decade. We are glad our warrants team was able to get him into custody. We have already initiated termination proceedings and we stand ready to assist SAPD with whatever they may need,” Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said.

The press release said the Bexar County Sheriff’s Public Integrity Unit has begun an administrative investigation into the incident and is working in conjunction with the San Antonio Police Department pending the outcome of the criminal investigation.

Laines has been placed on unpaid administrative leave. He is charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child by contact and has a $75,000 bond for each charge.

Both the San Antonio Police Department and Bexar County Sheriff’s Public Integrity Unit have started their own investigations into the matter so hopefully, this case will be finished quickly so that the child and their family can begin to move past this horrific encounter.

Migrant Caravan on Texan Border

Since Feb. 4 roughly 1,800 Central American migrants intent on seeking asylum in the US have been playing a frustrating waiting game on the Mexican side of the Texas-Mexico border.

The migrants, who are mostly Honduran, are being housed in a former warehouse in Piedras Negras — and being guarded by Mexican law enforcement — while they wait to be let into the US.

Due to the very slow process of going through these migrants, US Customs and Border Protection officers are only able to process about 16 to 20 of the migrants a day according to CNN. This has lead to high tensions between law enforcement and the migrants with many being told by Mexican officials to return to Honduras.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has joined the US Border Patrol in stationing agents in Eagle Pass, Texas — on the banks of the north side of the Rio Grande. They’re meant to deter any migrants who might choose to cross the river instead of waiting their turn in Mexico

“As part of our border security plan we keep DPS on the border with boats & planes. They work with local & federal authorities to enforce the law,” Gov. Abbott tweeted alongside a picture of the law enforcement build up.

US and Mexican law enforcement need to possibly work together and process every single migrant to make sure that they are legitimate asylum seekers and not someone who would pose a threat to the US, Mexico or their citizens.

Green New Flop

Early on Feb. 7, NPR received the Frequently Asked Questions page of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY.) Green New Deal. It was immediately criticized by opponents and supporters alike until it was eventually taken down from down NPR’s and Cortez’s website later that day.

The FAQ was specifically ripped apart not for wanting to lower US carbon emissions, but how it plans to do that and the economic policies it proposes. It should also be noted that the Green New Deal is considered a “Non-Binding Agreement”, meaning that even if it passes, Congress is just saying that it will work towards lowering carbon emissions and the other goals laid out in the deal.

The FAQ states that “[i]t guarantees to everyone:

  • A job with family-sustaining wages, family and medical leave, vacations, and retirement security
  • High-quality education, including higher education and trade schools
  • High-quality health care
  • Clean air and water
  • Healthy food
  • Safe, affordable, adequate housing
  • An economic environment free of monopolies
  • Economic security to all who are unable or unwilling to work…

and a transition away from nuclear to renewable power sources only”

The bill does not state how it plans on providing everyone in the US with these things or how it plans to pay for them. The phrase “economic security to all who are unable or unwilling to work” is especially troubling as it will create an incentive for people to not work as they will be provided with everything that they need anyway “a job… healthcare… food…[and] housing.”

Though many in the US support the idea of a Green New Deal this bill is more of a government take over of the largest industries in America than an investment in renewable energy. Even going as far as to want to phase out nuclear, one of the most efficient and reliable energy sources that have little to no greenhouse gas emissions.

US Economy

It was a decent week for US stocks, with a few gains in the stock market. The Dow Jones increased to 25,106.33 on Friday, increasing by +42.44 points, or +0.17% percent over its Feb. 3 close of 25,063.89. The S&P 500 increased by +1.35 points or +0.05% percent on Friday. In addition, the Nasdaq decreased on Friday by -0.47 percent.

This comes on news that the US and China are still negotiating an end to the trade war with a deadline for reaching a deal by March 1. The economy did not do that well this week but it is still remaining positive. The US has a very volatile stock market at the moment but this volatility should go away by the end of 2019.

Possible Border Deal

On Saturday, Feb. 9, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said that both Republican and Democratic legislators were optimistic about coming to a bipartisan deal on border security that would avoid another government shutdown.

Hoyer said that he doesn’t know the specifics of the deal, including the amount for border barriers, but does “hope [that] as early as Monday we will hear what that agreement is.” Negotiators last Friday were closing in on a deal that many lawmakers are calling a rebuff to Trump’s demands for $5.7 billion dollars for a wall along parts of the US-Mexico border. Instead, lawmakers are focusing on a compromise that would give no more than $2 billion for border barriers.

Hoyer said that both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will bring the agreement to vote in their respective chambers but it currently appears that Trump may veto the deal with tweets he made about it on Feb. 10. Lawmakers have until Feb. 15 to come up with an agreement that can pass both chambers of Congress and be accepted by Trump otherwise we enter another partial shutdown.

Trump is not in that good of a position depending on what will be in the finalized compromise bill. He will get funding for barriers along the US southern border but many of his supporters may see it as too much of a compromise compared to his original demand of $25 billion back in 2017. Democrats may come out of this worse though as 93% of Democrats and Democratic leaners oppose expanding the wall along the southern border.