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Press Release: State Representative Gene Wu Condemns Wave of Anti-Immigrant Policies

September 5, 2017

9.5.2017 State Representative Gene Wu Condmens Wave of Anti-Immigrant PoliciesHOUSTON – President Trump has today announced the end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA, within 6 months. DACA provided relief to undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as young children. Additionally, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 4 in May, which made changes to law enforcement tactics regarding undocumented immigrants within the state. The new law, which was set to go into effect on September 1, has been partially blocked by a federal court due to an injunction stemming from a lawsuit by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Representative Wu released this statement:

“As the representative of one of the largest documented and undocumented immigrant populations in the state, I condemn President Trump’s actions today in the strongest possible terms. DACA shared wide-spread bipartisan support because it protected undocumented children and people who were brought to the US as children. Trump’s decision in terminating DACA is inhuman, immoral, and unconscionable.

The end of the program likely spells doom for hundreds of thousands of children and young adults who have applied for relief through the DACA program. Those protected by DACA are American in every sense but on paper. They are raised as Americans. They love our nation as their own. They serve in our armed forces, and as first responders. They deserve better from the country that they call home. This action serves no purpose other than to punish children who have grown up as Americans.

This action follows closely to the passage of SB 4 in the Texas Legislature, which created a “show me your papers” law in Texas. SB 4 created a hostile environment for all immigrants and pushed people who lived on the edge of society even further into the darkness. Trump’s action today is the crest of a wave of anti-immigrant policies passed at both state and federal levels.”

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Help Houston Recover from Harvey

August 29, 2017

IMG_4803GRB Harvey 2017Friends,

I pray that you and your family, friends and neighbors are safe. As you all know, Harvey has been a catastrophic natural disaster for our city and our state with record-breaking rainfall causing flooding throughout Houston and Harris County, as well as along the central Texas coast. I am extremely grateful to all of our first responders, volunteers and good samaritans who are helping keep fellow Texans and Houstonians safe. The Houston Police Department alone has rescued nearly 3,500 people.

My office has been in constant communication with our local city, county, and state officials. Both Judge Ed Emmett and Mayor Sylvester Turner have been working around the clock to provide emergency response, monitor Harvey, and ensure services are being deployed.

If you need help, reach out. If you can help, please do. There is much work ahead of us to recover and rebuild. Let’s be good to each other and, as always, be safe.

Sincerely,

Gene Wu


For Help:
  • Only call 9-1-1 in a life-threatening emergency if you have an immediate need for medical attention or evacuation assistance. If you can’t get through to 9-1-1 on first try, keep calling.

  • Call 3-1-1 for non-emergency help & information and to report damage, or online at http://www.houstontx.gov/311/.

  • Call 2-1-1 for the Texas/United Way Helpline to access information on shelters and other forms of assistance. This is also a good resource on how to volunteer.

  • Report power outages by phone to CenterPoint Energy at 713-207-2222 or 800-332-7143. The CenterPoint Energy Electric ​Outage Tracker provides approximate locations of current power outages: http://gis.centerpointenergy.com/outagetracker/.

  • Call your insurance agent or company as soon as possible to report property damage. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Help After Harvey website has more information: http://www.tdi.texas.gov/consumer/storms/helpafterharvey.html. If you need information, have a complaint, or can’t locate your agent or company, call the TDI Consumer Help Line at 1-800-252-3439. The Help Line is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

  • Apply for FEMA disaster assistance: disasterassistance.gov or call 800-462-7585.
  • The State Bar of Texas is offering a free legal hotline and disaster relief resources for Hurricane Harvey survivors at (800) 504-7030 or texasbar.com/disasters.

  • Check Houston Transtar for incidents and road closures due to high water: http://traffic.houstontranstar.org/roadclosures/#highwater.

  • Check Harris County Flood Control District Flood Warning System to view rainfall totals in your area: https://www.harriscountyfws.org/.

Ways you can help Houston Recover:

  • Donate to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund: https://ghcf.org/hurricane-relief/
  • Donate to the Red Cross (select “I Want to Support: Hurricane Harvey”): https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation
  • Become a volunteer:

    • Sign up with Volunteer Houston at volunteerhouston.org
    • Volunteer at an emergency shelter or distribution center.
      The City of Houston, Harris County and Red Cross have partnered to provide shelter to those displaced by flooding.
      Check here for an updated list of available shelters: http://www.houstonemergency.org/shelters/.
      Note:The City of Houston, Harris County and the Red Cross have partnered to provide shelter to those displaced by flooding. Check here for an updated list of available shelters: http://www.houstonemergency.org/shelters/.
      IMPORTANT: No immigration status checks or requests for papers at any shelter, according to local city and county officials, as well as federal officials at ICE and CBP.

    • Call the Volunteer Management Hotline: 281-656-1533

      • George R. Brown Convention Center, NRG Center, Toyota Center and BBVA Compass Stadium are no longer accepting donations.
      • Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management
        • For Donations Management call: 1-800-924-5985
        • For Volunteer Management call: 281-656-1533

Prepare for Hurricane Harvey

August 25, 2017

Friends,

As Hurricane Harvey makes its way to our coast, please be prepared. Meteorologists predict Harvey to make landfall on Friday night and we can expect heavy rains and flooding, or even worse. Because your safety is my primary concern, I want to make sure you have as much helpful information as possible.

If there is any assistance we can provide, don’t hesitate to contact us at our Capitol Office: 512-463-0492.

Sincerely,

Gene Wu



Prepare & Stay Safe – Keep up with the latest information:

  • City of Houston Emergency Operations Center [link] and Follow on Twitter: @houstonoem
  • Sign up for AlertHouston [link] and Follow on Twitter: @AlertHouston
  • Harris County Homeland Security & Emergency Management [link] and Follow on Twitter: @AlertHouston
  • Sign up for Harris County Alerts [link]
  • National Weather Service [link] and Follow on Twitter: @nwshouston
  • Harris County Flood Control District [link]
  • Register for the State of Texas Emergency Assistance Registry (STEAR) for those who need assistance during an emergency/disaster [link]

Disaster Supply Checklist:

  • Water – At least seven day supply (one gallon per person per day)
  • Food – At least seven day supply of nonperishable/canned food (Change out stored water and food supplies every six months)
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Battery powered radio
  • Medications and special items (pain relievers, diapers, etc.)
  • Tools and supplies
  • Sanitation (toilet paper, personal hygiene items, etc.)
  • Change of clothes and bedding
  • Cash
  • Important family documents (birth certificates, insurance/
    bank account information, etc.)
  • Food, water and medicine for your pets
  • Kennels or crates for pets

When a hurricane warning is issued by the National Weather Service and the coastal area is threatened, you should:

  • Monitor your local TV and radio stations.
  • Fuel your vehicles and generators.
  • Check your disaster supply kit.
  • Cover windows with plywood.
  • Bring in all furniture, toys and any other objects
    that could become missiles.
  • Moor boats to a safe and secure place.
  • Take pictures of property and contents for
    insurance purposes.
  • Evacuate immediately, if advised.

If you stay in your home during the hurricane and are not
in a flood prone area:

  • Fill bathtubs and all available containers with water.
  • Turn off utilities, if requested.
  • Remain indoors in a closet, bathroom or hallway on
    the lower level of your house, away from windows.
  • Cover yourself and family members with a mattress or a dining room table to protect yourself from falling debris.

Call for Help

  • 911 – For emergencies
  • 713.884.3131 – Houston Police Department’s non-emergency line
  • 211 – Texas Information Referral Network
  • 311 – Report storm damage to the City of Houston Information Line

I need your help to continue the fight!

June 28, 2017

The 85th Regular Session is now behind us, and while it was challenging, we did make progress in some very important issue areas.

My proudest achievement was creating and passing a bipartisan, comprehensive Child Protective Services (CPS) reform bill, which will improve the court process for CPS cases and ease the burden on children, families and child welfare stakeholders. We also passed criminal justice reforms to make the system more fair, and worked on measures to strengthen our community and address local issues in our county, city and neighborhoods.

But much of the work we did was about standing up for what’s right. Many of you saw me fight for the rights of immigrants on the floor. You saw me fight for the rights of Texas kids. Now, Governor Abbott has called a special session and I need your help to go back to Austin and continue the fight.

I’m starting to ramp up my re-election efforts for next year’s campaign and Friday is our first financial filing deadline. I need your help to reach our fundraising goal. We need to raise $9,300 in the next three days, so please contribute to my campaign today.

Next year’s election will be vital for Texas, and with your support, I will continue to fight for equality and opportunity for all Texans.

Please give today to help me continue this fight for years to come. Thank you so much for your generosity, friendship and support.

Press Release: CPS Reform Bill by Wu Passes Senate, Heads to Governor

May 24, 2017

cmsimage__2017_02_08_13_54_17_706AUSTIN, TX – Today, with a vote of 31-0, the Texas Senate passed House Bill 7 by Representative Gene Wu (Houston – HD 137). HB 7 is a bipartisan, comprehensive reform of child welfare laws and procedures that will improve the court process for handling Child Protective Services (CPS) cases in the State of Texas.

“HB 7 is the culmination of nearly two years of negotiations and collaboration between a myriad of stakeholders and advocacy groups,” said Wu. “We worked hard to strike a balance between the various interests, and, in the end, we have a major piece of legislation that has received widespread bipartisan support.”

Rep. Wu is a practicing attorney and represents both children and parents in CPS cases. During the interim Rep. Wu gathered input from judges, attorneys, court reporters, state agency staff, advocates, and former foster children to find ways to address problems and improve the system.

“By working across the aisle and with insight from expert stakeholders, we were able to come up with a comprehensive bill that patches gaps in the Texas Family Code to streamline services, decrease trauma, protect vulnerable kids and help reunite them with their families,” said Wu. “Reforming our child welfare system was one of our top priorities this session. I appreciate the nod from the Senate and I have every confidence that the Governor will honor our work by signing this bill into law.”

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Press Release: Wu Passes Comprehensive CPS Reform in Texas House

May 11, 2017

cmsimage__2017_02_08_13_54_17_706AUSTIN, TX – Last night the Texas House of Representatives passed House Bill 7 with overwhelming bipartisan support, and today gave broad initial approval for House Bill 39. Both actions are a victory for comprehensive Child Protective Services (CPS) reform. Each bill includes provisions to improve the existing functions, policies, and procedures for the Department of Family and Protective Services and connected child welfare contract services.

“These reforms are part of a larger effort by this body to fix a system in crisis,” said Wu. “CPS is tasked with taking care of some of our state’s most vulnerable children, and we all have a responsibility to keep them safe, protect them from harm, and help them find loving homes.”

After decades of problems and a court order calling for an overhaul, lawmakers prioritized improvements this session through multiple bills, in addition to appropriating a substantial funding increase in the state’s budget. House Bill 7 addresses court procedures for child abuse and neglect cases, and HB 39 addresses gaps in foster care services. The bills make various changes to the current system to make a more efficient, fair, and transparent process to provide better protection for children, reduce trauma, and improve reunification efforts for children and families.

“Our success would be a big step towards reforming a broken system and I am proud of the bipartisanship the House showed in crafting these bills. After more than a year of work, we were able to accomplish something that includes input from numerous child welfare system stakeholders and experts, along with proposals from both sides of the aisle. We worked together to keep our word and came up with comprehensive legislation to make the necessary reforms we so desperately need.” Wu continued, “I am confident that these reforms will change the lives of vulnerable children and families in Texas and I look forward to working with the Senate to make these comprehensive reforms state law.”

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Press Release: Representative Gene Wu Statement on the Passage of Senate Bill 4

April 27, 2017

SB4_StatementToday’s passage of Senate Bill 4 is a solution in search of a problem. This is a bill that has been crafted out of fear and hatred of immigrants. Not a single Texas city refuses to comply with voluntary ICE Detainers. Not a single Texas city can be called a “Sanctuary City.” The bill as passed, would not just detain criminals, but would target children, victims of crimes, and even immigrants who served in our armed forces. The Texas Legislature has, today, passed a Arizona-style, “Show-me-your-papers” law that will disproportionately affect communities such as those that make up District 137 — hardworking communities made up of native and non-native Texans, refugees, and immigrants both documented and undocumented.

This legislation is cruel. When it was made clear this bill would cause American citizens to be jailed and detained, the proponents of the bill shrugged it off as an unfortunate inconvenience. When Democrats offered amendments to exempt children and victims going to testify in court, those measures were repeatedly defeated on purely party lines. Democrats also asked to exempt religious-based schools who may object with deeply held beliefs; that too was defeated on partisan lines.

When I first spoke on this bill I couldn’t stop thinking about my boys. This bill and other laws like it are a constant reminder that, despite being born in this nation, they will be seen as outsiders because of the way they look; that the law will treat them with suspicion; and they will have to fight just to be treated equally. I was reminded that this is not the first time laws were passed against immigrants based on fear and hatred. And, it will not be the last.

Democrats were united in their opposition to the legislation because this felt like an attack on the diverse communities that we represent and that make Texas great. At the end of the day, all we asked for was mercy for our communities; mercy for our families; and mercy for our children. But no mercy was given.

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Representative Wu Floor Comments on Senate Bill 4

Representative Wu Closing Statements on Senate Bill 4

Press Release: Representative Gene Wu – An Advocate for Texas Immigrants

February 8, 2017

cmsimage__2017_02_08_13_54_17_706Representative Wu (D – Houston) expressed disappointment that Governor Abbott declared a so-called sanctuary city ban as one of his top priorities in last week’s State of the State Address. Today, the Texas Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 4 (SB 4) on to the Texas House. SB 4 will require Texas law enforcement agencies to collaborate with U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) to investigate the immigration status of Texans. The bill’s passage follows sixteen hours of emotional testimony in the Senate State Affairs Committee by faith leaders, scholars, lawyers, judges, law enforcement officials, and advocates from all over Texas who oppose this legislation.

“We should be focusing our attention on unifying issues that strengthen and support the people who call Texas home, and not perpetuating anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies that divide us,” Wu commented. “SB 4 makes Texans less safe by undermining public safety, driving vulnerable communities into the shadows, separating families, and forcing local law enforcement to carry out duties that should be the responsibility of the federal government.”

Over 1 million Houstonians are foreign-born and have contributed $116.5 billion to the city’s economy, according to 2014 data. Considered Houston’s ‘Ellis Island’, Wu represents District 137 in Southwest Houston, where many immigrant and refugee families live and work, and more than 67% of the district’s population speak a language other than English at home.

Wu added: “This law will cause immigrant communities, both documented and undocumented, to live in fear of the police. This law also invites criminals to prey on already fearful communities; knowing that immigrant victims will now be less likely to call the police. This is not how you build a trusting and safe place to live.”

In a press conference last month with Mayor Turner, Wu stated, “Houston and Texas and the United States is a better place because of immigrants. We are a stronger nation because of people who come from other places, because of refugees, because of people who make this their home to make a better life, and who seek the American dream. We are where we are today because of immigrants.”

As a proud immigrant himself, Representative Wu remains a committed voice for all immigrants who continue to make Houston a diverse, unique, and welcoming city.

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Representative Wu Files Juvenile Justice Reform Legislation for the 85th Legislative Session

December 29, 2016

State Representative Gene Wu has pre-filed legislation for the 85th Legislative Session to ensure that the Texas Juvenile Justice system works better to rehabilitate young offenders and end the school-to-prison pipeline.

The primary legislation to reform the Texas Juvenile Justice system is House Bill 676 (H.B. 676) to raise the juvenile jurisdiction age, or the age when a person will be considered an adult, to 18 years of age. This change would bring Texas’ policy in-line with the vast majority of states and the federal justice system.

“I made ‘Raise the Age’ the first bill in our packet to send a clear message that this a priority for our state,” said Rep. Wu. “If this bill becomes law, we can give hundreds of thousands of young people a second chance; to not brand them with a life-long criminal conviction for minor offenses. We can keep these kids off of the path to prison.”

Texas is one of only a few states remaining in the nation that still treats children between the ages of 17 and 18 as adults for all crimes. When Rep. Wu filed this legislation in the 84th Session, Texas was of nine (9) state left that had not made this change. As the 85th Session is about to begin, Texas is now one of seven (7) left.

“We need to be smarter on crime instead of just looking tough,” adds Wu. “Every kid makes mistakes big and small, it’s a part of growing up. The Juvenile Justice system has proven to be far more effective in rehabilitating young people than the adult system. And, the Juvenile system won’t destroy a young person’s life by branding them with a public criminal record.”

Rep. Wu also pre-filed additional Juvenile Justice Legislation, in addition to H.B. 676, which include:

  • H.B. 677 – would allow a judge, following a hearing, to seal a juvenile’s Determinate Probation records. This bill is intended to give juveniles placed on long probations for more serious offenses a chance to seal their records, if they perform admirably during their probation.
  • H.B. 678 – would allow an associate judge to take part of a determinate sentence plea; freeing the District Court Judge to perform other duties. This bill is intended to improve administrative efficiency.
  • H.B. 679 – would ban the use of heavy mechanical shackles on juveniles unless it is specifically ordered by a judge. This bill is intended to curb the instances of chain shackling juveniles as young as 10 years old, when they do not pose any real threat.

Endorsed by the Houston Chronicle

October 13, 2016

We’re proud to have the endorsement of the Houston Chronicle today:

“People are tired of dead kids.”

That’s the reason that two-term state Rep. Gene Wu gave the editorial board to explain the political momentum in the state House to fix Texas Child Protective Services. Democrats, like Wu, and Republicans are working together to file bills for the upcoming session that will provide better pay for CPS workers, more money for foster families, and better therapy for kids and drug treatment for parents who need it.

“The vast majority of cases that come to CPS are because of drugs,” Wu said. “Yet we don’t provide drug treatment.”

As a lawyer who takes CPS and juvenile law cases, Wu is an invaluable resource on this issue, and voters should give him a third term in Austin.

Political Advertisement paid for by the Gene Wu Campaign