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Chad’s Morning Brief: Greg Abbott Talks Pre-K Funding, Obama Administration Released Over 68,000 Convicted Criminal Illegal Aliens In the U.S. Last Year, and Other Top Stories

Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of April 1, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.

Facebook, Texas Tribune

Pre-K Education Funding

The issue of education has been and will continue to be a major one in the Texas Governor’s race. On Monday Greg Abbott called for additional funding to pre-kindergarten programs, but only if they are tied to outcomes according to the Texas Tribune.

Announcing the first of his education policy proposals Monday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott called for reforming pre-kindergarten programs before expanding access, saying that additional funding should be tied to academic outcomes.

Abbott’s plan, which was unveiled in Weslaco, proposes providing an additional $1,500 per student on top of the funding the state already provides for half-day pre-K programs if the program meets performance requirements set by the state.

“Expanding the population of students served by existing state-funded programs without addressing the quality of existing prekindergarten instruction or how it is being delivered would be an act of negligence and waste,” Abbott’s policy proposal reads.

Abbott’s proposal comes with a $118 million price tag in the 2016-17 biennium and includes a focus on annual reviews for children beginning school in 2016.

His pre-K proposal flies in the face of state Sen. Wendy Davis’ proposal for increased access to full-day pre-kindergarten programs in February.

The Democratic gubernatorial contender’s plan, which proposes that school districts across the state offer full-day pre-K programs beyond the three hours a day the state already funds, pivots on her push for further restoration of $5.4 billion in spending cuts made by the Legislature in 2011, which included a cut of more than $200 million to the state’s Pre-K Early Start Grant program. The fund, which the Legislature created in 2000, had funded pre-K expansion in schools looking to extend their programs.

While the Legislature restored $30 million in funding for the program in 2013, Davis has called for the restoration of more funds and has called on Abbott to settle an ongoing school finance lawsuit, which was prompted by the cuts.

The lawsuit was filed against the state by a coalition of more than two-thirds of Texas school districts, which claim the state’s funding system is inadequate. As Texas’ attorney general, Abbott has represented the state in the lawsuit.

In the proposal he announced Monday, Abbott said that “very high quality” statewide half-day pre-K must be achieved before the Legislature mandates full-day programs, leaving the decision to expand pre-K programs to local school districts, which can do so through federal funding or municipal bond packages.

On Monday, Davis was quick to respond to Abbott’s call for reforming pre-K instead of expanding access.

“The fact that Greg Abbott thinks it’s a ‘waste’ to ensure all Texas children have access to pre-K explains why he’s still fighting to defend nearly $200 million in cuts to pre-K in the courtroom,” Davis said in a statement. “Abbott’s plan of pre-K for the chosen few but not for all hardworking Texas children would set our state backwards at a time we need to prepare for a 21st-century economy.”

Earlier in the day, Davis also attacked Abbott before he released his proposal, calling his policies hypocritical given his defense of the state in court as part of the school finance lawsuit.

The Abbott campaign did not respond to a request for comment on Davis’ statements.

Abbott’s plan also focuses on improving literacy and math scores in Texas schools through professional development and the creation of teacher “academies” that mirror the Texas Reading Initiative, created by then-Gov. George W. Bush, to help boost performance scores by providing additional training for teachers who teach kindergarten to third grade at a cost of $15 million per year.

Wendy Davis wants to throw money at education without performance requirements. Greg Abbott wants to see results. Sounds like Abbott has the winning plan to me.

Criminals Released

A new report shows that the Obama Administration released hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who could have and should have been deported. Those who were released were released back onto the streets here in the United States. According to Townhall.com, 68,000 criminals were released in 2013.

According to a new report from the Center for Immigration Studies by Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughn, the Obama administration has allowed tens-of-thousands of violent illegal aliens to go free inside the United States and without deportation. An analysis of Immigration and Customs Enforcement data shows 68,000 convicted criminals were released in 2013. According to Department of Homeland Security policy, an individual is only determined to be a criminal alien if they have a criminal conviction, which does not include traffic offenses. This policy definition is important to keep in mind when going over the data. Further, many of the individuals in the data have multiple convictions due to numerous and repeated criminal offenses.

“A review of internal ICE metrics for 2013 reveals that hundreds of thousands of deportable aliens who were identified in the interior of the country were released instead of removed under the administration’s sweeping “prosecutorial discretion” guidelines. In 2013, ICE reported 722,000 encounters with potentially deportable aliens, most of whom came to their attention after incarceration for a local arrest. Yet ICE officials followed through with immigration charges for only 195,000 of these aliens, only about one-fourth. According to ICE personnel, the vast majority of these releases occurred because of current policies that shield most illegal aliens from enforcement, not because the aliens turned out to have legal status or were qualified to stay in the United States,” a summary of the report states. “Many of the aliens ignored by ICE were convicted criminals. In 2013, ICE agents released 68,000 aliens with criminal convictions, or 35 percent of all criminal aliens they reported encountering. The criminal alien releases typically occur without formal notice to local law enforcement agencies and victims.”

More key findings from the report (bolding is mine):

 -In 2013, ICE targeted only 195,000, or 25 percent, out of 722,000 potentially deportable aliens they encountered. Most of these aliens came to ICE’s attention after incarceration for a local arrest.
-ICE released 68,000 criminal aliens in 2013, or 35 percent of the criminal aliens encountered by officers. The vast majority of these releases occurred because of the Obama administration’s prosecutorial discretion policies, not because the aliens were not deportable.
-ICE targeted 28 percent fewer aliens for deportation from the interior in 2013 than in 2012, despite sustained high numbers of encounters in the Criminal Alien and Secure Communities programs.
- Every ICE field office but one reported a decline in interior enforcement activity, with the largest decline in the Atlanta field office, which covers Georgia and the Carolinas.
-ICE reports that there are more than 870,000 aliens on its docket who have been ordered removed, but who remain in defiance of the law.
-Under current policies, an alien’s family relationships, political considerations, attention from advocacy groups, and other factors not related to public safety can trump even serious criminal convictions and result in the termination of a deportation case.
- Less than 2 percent of ICE’s caseload was in detention at the end of fiscal year 2013.
-About three-fourths of the aliens ICE detained in 2013 had criminal and/or immigration convictions so serious that the detention was required by statute.

You can read more of Townhall’s article and see how many criminals were released in some Texas cities by clicking on the link above.

Other Top Stories:

5 Emergencies a Day in Part to Synthetic Pot 

US Oil Exports Would Lower Prices

75% Now Have Higher Premiums 

Texas Keeps Home-Schooled Children Away From Parents

Equality and a Baseball Field  

Paul and Huckabee Leading for 2016

Biden Warns Against Ted Cruz 

These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.

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