Gov. Greg Abbott's Hard-line Immigration Stand Could Swell Foster-care Rolls

AUSTIN - Two young, drug addicted mothers came into Judge Aurora Martinez Jones’ courtroom two-and-a-half years ago, worn down and desperate. In their eyes, sunken under the weight of a lifetime of abuse, the judge could see the women were on the brink of losing themselves. They were also on the brink of losing their children. Again. “From day one, they both absolutely loved their kids,” said Martinez Jones, who oversees Travis County’s family drug treatment court. “That was never, ever any kind of concern for me or confusion for anybody else.”Thanks to the county’s Parenting in Recovery program, both women are sober now. They’ve escaped abusive relationships. They have jobs and homes, and they’re helping connect other struggling mothers to resources that will help them find the same kind of success.Most importantly, though, the mothers have their children. Since 2008, the program has kept more than 300 Travis County youths out of the state’s overburdened, crisis-ridden foster care system.Now, the successful program - and others like it across Texas - could be in jeopardy.In his zeal to punish the county for its sheriff’s decision not to fully enforce federal immigration law, Gov. Greg Abbott cut money to Parenting in Recovery. Under anti-sanctuary legislation that Abbott has declared a legislative priority, the same punishment would be imposed on any local government that adopted a so-called immigrant sanctuary policy, potentially putting at risk other family drug courts that have kept hundreds of children out of foster care.  Continue reading...

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