Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks State Fetal Remains Cremation Law

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By Becky FogelJanuary 30, 2018 7:50 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Texas’ attempt to require health providers to bury or cremate fetal remains has been thwarted for a second time. A federal judge is temporarily blocking this new law that was supposed to take effect February 1. The Texas Legislature passed the law after a state rule with the same requirements was blocked by another federal judge.

In Monday’s ruling, U.S. District Judge David Ezra called on both sides to submit proposed trial dates within ten days. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has vowed to continue fighting for the fetal remains rule.

A Mexican journalist and his son, who were nearly deported at the end of last year, are still being held at an immigrant detention facility in El Paso. That’s after the Board of Immigration Appeals has agreed to reconsider their case.

Emilio Gutierrez and his son have been seeking asylum in the United States for over a decade. His lawyer, Eduardo Beckett, was hoping U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, would release Gutierrez while his case is appealed.

Unfortunately ICE has taken the position the position that they do not want to release him, for a lack of a better word, the grounds that ICE is stating is bogus,” Beckett said.

That means Gutierrez will remain in detention from anywhere between six months to up to a year, or longer.

Before he was detained during a routine immigration check-in in El Paso last December, Gutierrez was living in New Mexico.

He had a food truck and he also has a large support group, called the Alianza – and so he had a home, he had a food truck, he was working, he was being a positive member of the community,” Beckett said.

Gutierrez says returning to Mexico will mean certain death for him and his son, since he has reported on corruption and violence there.

Developers behind the Texas bullet train, which promises to shuttle travelers between Dallas and Houston in 90 minutes, released unofficial designs of a station Monday. This one would be just outside of downtown Dallas.

Holly Reed is with Texas Central Partners, the private company developing the high speed rail. She says the entire line makes Dallas a key player in the bid for Amazon’s new headquarters.

“When you think of Amazon and their need for 50,000 employees, you can now reliably get back and forth between the seven million people in the north Texas area and about the seven million people in the Houston area. So you’re creating a super economy that hasn’t existed before,”Reed says.

The only other area in Texas that Amazon says it is considering is Austin and the surrounding region.