In Texas, the conflicts between immigration enforcement and public safety concerns is on display

What’s happening in Texas is part of a larger national debate about how local and state law enforcement policies can affect public safety. SB4 is the first state law seeking to penalize sanctuary cities, but many other similar pieces of legislation are moving through states around the country.

On the other hand, the governor of Illinois signed the Trust Act Monday. The law prevents state and local police from detaining people on the basis of their immigration status and from complying with immigration officers’ requests to detain people. Some people say the Illinois law creates a “sanctuary state,” though many supporters reject that label. The law would ensure good communication with the federal government on immigration, not keep law enforcement agencies apart, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says.

“Illinois has been welcoming of immigrants for a long time, and this bill will continue that tradition,” Rauner said during the signing ceremony. “It also makes clear that stopping violent crime will be law enforcement’s mission rather than working on federal prerogatives that a federal court has found illegal.”

Read on at PRI.org.

What it’s like to register to vote in Oregon and Texas

Rekha Koirala is a first-time voter. She was born in Bhutan and grew up in a refugee camp in Nepal. She came the the US in 2008 and became a citizen as soon as she was eligible in 2013.

“I grew up not belonging to anywhere,” she says on the phone from Portland. “I was kicked out of my own country.”

For her, the process of becoming a citizen and registering to vote was relatively simple. She remembers the volunteers who helped her fill out a registration card after she took her oath of citizenship — and that was that. Come November, like everyone else in Oregon, she will mail in her ballot.

Studies show that naturalized citizens vote at lower rates than native-born citizens. A 2012 University of Southern California study (PDF), however, points out that this discrepancy is rooted at the registration level. That is to say, when you compare naturalized and native-born citizens who are registered to vote, participation levels are roughly equal.

So for advocates and those who want to empower new Americans in the political system, registering new Americans like Koirala is particularly important.

What’s up in Texas, though? Read on at PRI.

My first Storify from SXSW Interactive

For my first attempt at storytelling with this new social media tool, I recapped a panel at SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas. Feedback would be great — should I write more, include more tweets, include fewer tweets? Is this actually good for a reader who wasn’t at the event?