The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.
Federal immigration officials have released at least 15 babies and their mothers from a detention center in Dilley, Texas over the last few days. These releases happened soon after three immigrant rights groups urged the Department of Homeland Security to let them go. In their letter, they said the facility could not provide medical care needed for children under one-year-old.
Katy Murdza is with the Dilley Pro Bono Project, which provides legal services to detained immigrants. She spoke with mothers held at the facility who said their babies began to have gastrointestinal issues.
“Doctors recommend that any changes to a baby’s diet be very gradual and yet there was no baby food available. There were mothers asking for formula and having difficulty obtaining it,” Murdza says.
The mothers told Murdza that even when they received formula they were not given bottled water. That forced them to use tap water instead, which they believed also contributed to their children’s health issues. Mothers also told Murdza some of their children had severe congestion or coughing.
“One even mentioned that she saw her baby attempting to cry and not being able to because of his difficulty breathing,” Murdza says.
Murdza adds that in the past it’s been rare for infants to be held at the detention facility in Dilley, and she’s concerned that’s changing.
“Even if all the babies who are currently detained are released, we’re worried that the willingness of the government to send these babies here over the past couple weeks could show that this could continue to occur in the future,” Murdza says.
Murdza says her group is continuing to monitor the number of infants at this facility. Another 170 immigrant families arrived this past weekend.
Leaders from across the Permian Basin are calling on Gov. Greg Abbott to provide hundreds of millions of dollars to expand and build roads due to wear and tear from increased oil and gas activity.
Roads in the Permian Basin are at capacity. That’s according to James Beauchamp, the president of the MOTRAN Alliance.
“At some point, you can’t just repave existing roads, you’ve got to build some new roads,” Beauchamp says.
Motran is a nonprofit that studies and raises funds to improve infrastructure in the Midland-Odessa area. The letter the group sent to the governor’s office asks for the state to contribute about $500 million towards specific projects to expand the number of cars local roads can handle. Beauchamp argues the region should get the money since from 2017 to 2018 alone, the area’s tax revenue contributed to the state went up by about $1.5 billion.
“From a statewide perspective when you start talking about millions of dollars of additional infrastructure out here I think that something is important is being able to make that economic case of why this is warranted and justified,” Beauchamp says.
Beauchamp says the letter is meant to start a conversation about how the state can support the communities in the largest oil field in the U.S.
HGTV “Fixer Upper” star, Joanna Gaines, is working on a rare remodeling project outside of Waco. The Texan is helping superstar Jennifer Lopez remodel her Malibu home. The two first connected via a surprise FaceTime call that Lopez’s boyfriend and former Texas Rangers shortstop, Alex Rodriguez, set up. Lopez recounted the story on “The Ellen Show” last month.
“And he opens up the FaceTime and its Joanna Gaines, and I was like ‘oh oh, are kidding? HI!’” Lopez said.
We’ll have to wait and see whether Gaines’ signature shiplap makes its way into the Malibu mansion.